Charity to finish plane as legacy to RAF sergeant killed in crash

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An RAF charity will complete a sergeant’s project to build his own aircraft after he was tragically killed in a crash.

Sergeant Anthony Ayre, also known as Tony, an engineering technician, served with the RAF for 29 years before he was killed in a road collision in Scotland in July 2014, aged 46.

He didn’t manage to finish his prize hand-build plane, but thanks to a national sports flying club his aircraft will be completed and flown from its new home at RAF Waddington.

A carved wooden model of the Spirit of Ayre.

Tony held a private pilot’s licence and was passionate about the world of light aircraft flying.

Having been gripped by the experience of aerobatic flight, he bought a Pitts S2AE kit and had begun building the aircraft shortly before his death.

Now his family have bequeathed Tony’s aircraft, known as ‘Spirit of Ayre’, to the RAF Flying Clubs’ Association (RAFFCA) which is overseeing the completion of its build.

Tony when he won the RAF Flying Clubs’ Association inaugural aerobatic competition at RAF Cranwell in May 2014.

The Spirit of Ayre will be made available to service personnel wishing to experience and enjoy the thrill of aerobatic flight just as Tony did.

Langleys Solicitors in Lincoln advised the RAFFCA on the creation of a charitable incorporated organisation through which the aircraft will be maintained.

Charitable status has now been granted and the organisation will be known as ‘Ayre to Air’.

The Spirit of Ayre will be housed in a hanger at RAF Waddington and is due for completion early in 2018. It is hoped that the Spirit of Air will take to the skies at the Royal International Airshow (RIAT) at RAF Fairford next July.

Squadron Leader Chris Hives, an executive of the RAFFCA and close friend of Tony said:

“Tony would be absolutely delighted to see like-minded individuals learning to fly aerobatics manoeuvres in an aircraft that, ultimately, he has provided.

“The project was his pride and joy and we are honoured to be completing it on his behalf for the benefit of his RAF colleagues.”