The death of a Red Arrows engineer who lost his life after a jet burst into flames could have been avoided, according to the coroner investigating the incident.

Corporal Jonathan Bayliss, 41, from Ingham in Lincolnshire, lost his life on March 21, 2018, when a Hawk T1 aircraft he was in the rear seat of crashed on the runway at RAF Valley in Anglesey.

A coroner’s inquest into Bayliss’ death found that he died from smoke inhalation and a low grade head injury, as the pilot on board, Flight Lieutenant David Stark, survived after ejecting moments before the plane hit the ground.

Coroner Katie Sutherland rejected calls from Bayliss’ family for a conclusion of unlawful killing, and instead said she would send a report to the Ministry of Defence to draw up steps to be taken in order for future deaths to be prevented.

Flight Lieutenant David Stark joined the Red Arrows in 2017. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

A Defence Safety Authority Service inquiry has resulted in 25 recommendations being made for future incidents, highlighting shortcomings in training for ejection procedures at the time.

In a report published by the DSAS, the Service Inquiry Panel said that the jet departed from the RAF Valley with the intention of simulating an engine failure in a training exercise.

It was then supposed to fly to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, but during the training manoeuvre, the plane stalled and crashed near the runway, as it was flying too low to recover.

The wreckage lay covered in what looked like red tarpaulin was surrounded by firefighters that afternoon. Photo: David Robert Jones

Ms Sutherland stated that the evidence suggested the crash could have been avoided, and the MoD breached its duty, but not enough to reach a conclusion of corporate manslaughter.

As well as this, it was discovered that surviving pilot David Stark did not breach his duty of care during the incident, and he was carrying out a practised engine failure on take off at the time.

The Red Arrows will see three new pilots welcomed to the team for the 2022 season, succeeding those who left at the end of this campaign.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team closed out the 2021 season in October, with a final display above the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier in Portsmouth.

It was the final sortie for Squadron Leaders Jon Bond and Steve Morris, who called time on their Red Arrows careers after a combined eleven years with the team.

Jon Bond (left) and Steve Morris (right) will be leaving the Red Arrows team after over a decade of combined experience. | Photo: Royal Air Force

Preparations have now begun at RAF Scampton for the team’s 58th display season, which traditionally starts in May to span the summer months and early-autumn, and there are three new pilots to join the Red Arrows lineup.

The new additions will be Flight Lieutenants Stuart Roberts and Patrick Kershaw, and Squadron Leader Graeme Muscat, flying Reds 2, 3 and 10 respectively.

The new additions also come ahead of the Red Arrows planned move from RAF Scampton to RAF Waddington in 2022.

Flt Lt Stuart Roberts will fly Red 2 for the 2022 season. | Photo: RAF Red Arrows

Flt Lt Stuart Roberts, 35, joined the RAF in 2009 after being born in Germany at RAF Wegberg and going on to study geography at Loughborough.

He has experience flying Typhoon aircraft, undertaking NATO air policing duties and even helping secure the UK skies by conducting quick reaction alerts.

He said: “I vividly remember seeing the team display as a young boy but, as I have spent more time in the Royal Air Force and had more insight into how the Red Arrows operate, I was drawn towards applying by its clear, common goal and the high levels of teamwork required from everyone involved to generate a consistent, world-leading display.”

Flying as Red 3 will be Flt Lt Patrick Kershaw. | Photo: RAF Red Arrows

Flt Lt Patrick Kershaw, 36, is Huddersfield-born and has a degree in business administration at Leicester De Montfort University. He joined the Royal Air Force service in 2006.

During his career he has been posted to the Tornado GR4 at RAF Marham, where he took part in operations over North Africa and the Middle East.

He said he was excited to join the force and be one of the Red Arrows’ nine display pilots.

“Innovation, precision, teamwork are all at the forefront of what we do in the team and these qualities are shared throughout numerous industries in the UK.

“Being able to represent this as an ambassador for the next three years will be a privilege and honour.”

Graeme Muscat will be the new Red 10, otherwise known as Supervisor. | Photo: RAF Red Arrows

The third new addition is the team supervisor, Squadron Leader Graeme Muscat, who will be replacing Sqn Ldr Adam Collins as Red 10.

Red 10 is the team’s safety supervisor for all practices and displays, maintaining and coordinating radio contact with Red 1 from the ground, as well as flying the team photographers and taking the spare aircraft between locations.

Graeme, 46, from Cheshire, joined the RAF in 1995 and has flown the Tornado GR4 on the frontline, as well as being a Flight Commander on the Hawk T2 at RAF Valley.

Sqn Ldr Muscat said: “I can remember being one of the crowd at airshows, both as a child and as young adult, watching not only the Red Arrows but any military flying and just being awestruck.

“As you can see from my career path, I didn’t join direct as a pilot and had to work up through the ranks because I never let go of my dream and aspirations.

“So, for me, providing a great show and meeting and inspiring the public will be a brilliant experience.”

This means the full pilot line-up for the Red Arrows 2022 season has been confirmed as:

  • Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team – Wing Commander David Montenegro
  • Red 1 and Team Leader – Squadron Leader Tom Bould
  • Red 2 – Flight Lieutenant Stuart Roberts
  • Red 3 – Flight Lieutenant Patrick Kershaw
  • Red 4 – Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge
  • Red 5 – Squadron Leader Nick Critchell
  • Red 6 and Synchro Leader – Squadron Leader Gregor Ogston
  • Red 7 and Synchro Two – Flight Lieutenant James Turner
  • Red 8 and Executive Officer – Flight Lieutenant Damo Green
  • Red 9 – Flight Lieutenant David Simmonds
  • Red 10 and Supervisor (from March 2022) – Squadron Leader Graeme Muscat

The Royal Air Force showcased several new clips of the Red Arrows to allow fans to get up close and personal with the Hawk T1 ahead of the new season.

The Red Arrows ended their 57th season in style last month, culminating in the final display which was staged above the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier in Portsmouth on October 20.

The season also included a flypast of Windsor Castle for Her Majesty the Queen, and another over Wembley Stadium during the final of the European Championships as England narrowly missed out on footballing glory against Italy.

The team also flew over Silverstone for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, and to Dubai for the Expo 2020.

They also paid tribute to the NHS and key workers with an all-blue smoke trail in the slalom move after an extended break from live displays due to the coronavirus lockdowns.

In total, the Reds managed 37 public displays and 22 major flypasts during the 2021.

They were also notably flanked by the RAF’s new submarine-hunter aircraft, Poseidon MRA1, for the first time for a flypast of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland in July.

The Red Arrows, who will move from the home at RAF Scampton to RAF Waddington in 2022, will be announcing details about the new season in the near future.

Check out more of the amazing videos —

+ More stories