Red Checkers lose a pilot

A small photo tribute.  I have enjoyed the Red Checkers’ performances many times over the years. These photos were taken at Maadi Cup March 09.

My condolences go out to the pilot’s family, that includes the Red Checker family.  The Air Force are a close knit bunch and this will be felt across New Zealand

An air force pilot believed to be a member of the Red Checkers team has been killed this morning after their aircraft crashed.

The crashed plane, thought to be a CT4 Airtrainer, flew out of Ohakea Air Base.

Chief of Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Graham Lintott, confirmed the death.

“It is with deep regret that I must confirm that the Royal New Zealand Air Force has lost a pilot following a fatal crash in the Manawatu this morning.”

He said the aircraft was conducting a practice routine. They had lost contact with it around 8am.

It crashed near the Raumai weapons range at Santoft, west of Bulls.

Only one aircraft was involved, Air Vice Marshal Lintott said.

Ambulance services confirmed a person, believed to be the pilot and only person on board, was killed.

The Fire Service was alerted at 8.15am and sent eight fire engines.

Ambulance services were alerted at 8.18am and found one person dead on arrival.

The cockpit was well alight when they arrived and the blaze was hard to contain, Newstalk ZB reported.

An air force Iroquois helicopter flew to the crash site.

The air force said next of kin were being informed.

The death is the second for the Defence Force in less than three months.

Flight Sergeant Andrew Forster was killed in November when an old artillery shell exploded, as he and another soldier from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron marked it for later disposal.

– with MICHAEL FOX, Stuff.co.nz

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