Red Arrows pilot 'fatigued' before fatal RAF Valley crash

image copyrightRoyal Air Force
image captionFlight Lt David Stark suffered non-life threatening injuries

A Red Arrows pilot involved in a fatal crash was almost certainly fatigued and distracted, investigators have said.

The Service Inquiry Panel (SIP) found distraction may have directly influenced Flight Lt David Stark's actions on 20 March 2018.

Kent-born Cpl Jonathan Bayliss, 41, died when a Hawk aircraft crashed on Anglesey.

Flight Lt Stark suffered non-life threatening injuries after ejecting from the plane.

The SIP report stated the jet departed from RAF Valley with the intention of simulating an engine failure, before flying to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

During the training manoeuvre, the plane stalled and crashed near the runway as it was flying too low to recover.

Flight Lt Stark was described by the panel as an experienced pilot who was familiar with the exercise.

image copyrightRoyal Air Force
image captionCpl Jonathan Bayliss joined the Red Arrows team in January 2016

The inquiry found he generally worked from 07:30 until 17:30 and his routine did not include "sufficient time for rest", which was a contributory factor in the crash.

It noted he was distracted by an air traffic control call asking him to confirm the aircraft's landing gear was down shortly before the accident.

The pilot's actions make it "very likely" he was suffering from reduced situational awareness, the report said.

The panel concluded: "At the critical moment of the sortie he may not have recognised the associated hazards as the situation developed."

It added the pressures felt by Red Arrows pilots were "exacerbated by resource constraints" and the "shortfall" in engineering and air safety personnel could lead to a future incident.

The inquiry found Lt Stark ejected half a second before the crash "following the dramatic realisation that the aircraft would impact the ground", and there was not enough time for him to properly warn the engineer.

Cpl Bayliss was born in Dartford, Kent, and worked at the Brands Hatch motor racing circuit before joining the RAF in 2001.

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