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RAF lifts Tornado ban


The RAF has lifted a ban on non-essential flying in Tornado attack jets imposed after the death of a Red Arrows pilot.

Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, 35, was killed after being ejected from his Hawk T1 while on the ground at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire on November 8.

All but vital flights in aircraft fitted with Martin Baker Mk 10 ejection seats were suspended while air accident officials investigated the tragedy.

The RAF announced today that all Tornado GR4 flying can resume, but the ban remains in place for Hawk T1, Hawk T2 and Tucano aircraft.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Following consideration of safety and engineering advice and the issuing of a precautionary technical instruction for the aircraft by DefenceEquipment and Support, the RAF chain of command has authorised the resumption of all Tornado GR4 flying operations without restriction.

"The RAF is still reviewing other available evidence regarding Hawk T1, Hawk T2 and Tucano.

"Therefore, as a precaution, the temporary suspension of flying for these aircraft remains in place at this time."

Iraq War veteran Flt Lt Cunningham, who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to Coventry as a child, was the second Red Arrows pilot to be killed in less than three months.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, from Rutland, died in an air show crash near Bournemouth Airport in Dorset in August.