‘Red Arrows must get back in our skies’

Red Arrows air display. STO-170630-123639001
Red Arrows air display. STO-170630-123639001
  • Devastated Scampton councillor speaks out after tragedy

West Lindsey’s District Councillor for Scampton has said the biggest tribute the Red Arrows could give tragic RAF engineer Jonathan Bayliss is to get back up flying.

Coun Roger Patterson - who worked in military transport at RAF Scampton for seven years after a career in the army - said: “The most important thing is that they get back up flying.

Coun Roger Patterson EMN-180323-153133001

Coun Roger Patterson EMN-180323-153133001

“The biggest tribute they could do is to get back up.

“The quicker they’re back up flying, the better for everybody - that’s where they need to be.

“They bring so much joy to people, people want to see them up.”

Coun Patterson, whose son is training to be an aircraft engineer in the RAF, said he was left ‘devastated’ by the death of Cpl Bayliss.

He said: “I just can’t believe it, it’s so sad.

“I know the whole community is absolutely devastated. You don’t expect it to happen.

“Everything’s a risk, but you still don’t expect it to happen. It’s a tragedy.

“If it was in combat, you could understand.

“I find it quite shocking.”

Cpl Bayliss died when a Red Arrows jet, heading home to Lincolnshire, crashed at RAF Valley in Anglesey on Tuesday, March 20.

The pilot of the Hawk fast jet survived the accident.

Coun Patterson said he could not help but wonder ‘what if’ his own son had been involved.

He said: “What if it had been him? I know now how my mum and dad felt when I was in the army.”

But, Coun Patterson said the tragic crash would not stop him encouraging his son to join the Red Arrows team.

He said: “I’d say go for it. It’s the pinnacle of their career.

“It’s something to be proud of, if you get picked for the Red Arrows.”

It is understood the Red Arrows aircrew had been at RAF Valley for routine Hawk simulator training – something that takes place once a month.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch will now begin a full probe into what caused the accident, North Wales Police said.