An inquiry into a crash at an air show in Bournemouth in which a Red Arrows pilot died could take weeks, officials said yesterday.
Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, 33, died when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed near Bournemouth airport on Saturday after a formation display over the town's seafront.
The RAF has grounded all its Hawk T1 training jets while an inquiry is carried out. Investigators will assess whether the circumstances of the crash are unique or whether other aircraft could be affected before the Red Arrows can fly again. Defence sources say it is impossible to predict how long this will take, but it is likely to be days or weeks. The full inquiry is expected to last months.
"We are looking to get flying resumed as quickly as we can, but that has to be safe," a source said.
The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on reports suggesting that the crash near the village of Throop may have been caused by a bird being sucked into the aircraft's engine. A spokesman said: "A full service inquiry ... has been initiated. It would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the incident at this time."