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Flintoff set for Whitby raft race

Former England cricket all-rounder Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff is set to swap the crease for a taste of high seas adventure when he is expected to take part in a raft race at this weekend's Whitby Regatta.

The 36-year-old, who retired from international Test cricket five years ago, is filming a series for Sky1 called "Flintoff: Lord of the Flies", in which he and a friend tour the country in an eco-friendly mobile fish and chip van and take part in local events.

Thousands of visitors are expected in Whitby for the three day regatta, which begins on Saturday. The raft race, which is held in the harbour, is at 4pm, on Saturday. The Red Arrows are scheduled to fly their aerobatic display at 6.30pm on Sunday.


Brian Cox becomes patron of late Red Arrow's charity

Brian Cox

The television scientist, Brian Cox, has become a patron at The Jon Egging Trust - a charity named after a Red Arrow pilot who died in 2011.

Flt Lt Jon Egging was killed when his jet crashed at the Bournemouth Air Festival.

Jon Egging

The Trust was set up to realise his dream of helping young people to overcome adversity and work towards their ambitions.

Professor Brian Cox said:

"I am delighted to become a Patron of the Jon Egging Trust, and I strongly support the amazing work the charity does to help young people move forward in their lives.

"Inspiring and enthusing the next generation to be the best they can be is something I’m passionate about, and I believe that the worlds of aviation, engineering and science together can do that.

"I look forward to helping the Trust to expand nationwide and reach as many young people as possible.”


Red Arrows: New design captures group's 'Britishness'

The Lincolnshire based Red Arrows have unveiled a new tail fin design to mark 50 years of air displays across the country.

The Union Jack design which will appear on all of the was revealed at their base - RAF Scampton - this morning. The team are hoping to have all of the Hawk planes displaying the design before a training trip to Cyprus at the end of March.

Squadron Leader Jim Turner says he wanted to capture the group's 'Britishness' in the design:

Coroner slams "useless" ejector seat

A coroner today slammed safety pins in an ejector seat as "useless" as he criticised a manufacturer for failing to warn the RAF of defects which led to the death of a Red Arrows pilot.

Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, 35, was killed after he was accidentally ejected 220ft into the air from his Hawk T1 aircraft while on the ground at RAF Scampton on November 8 2011.

The South African born pilot remained attached to his seat and fell unrestrained by the main parachute to the ground. He suffered non-survivable injuries, in particular to his brain and cardiovascular system, as a consequence of the high velocity impact with the ground, an inquest heard.

Recording a narrative verdict into the death today, Central Lincolnshire coroner Stuart Fisher criticised manufacturer Martin Baker for failing to inform the RAF of risks associated with the seat.

The inquest, held in Lincoln, heard that the ejection seat firing handle had been left in an unsafe position which meant it could accidentally activate the seat.

Mr Fisher said the safety pin mechanism was "entirely useless" and that it was "likely to mislead".

Tests of the MK 10 Martin Baker seat had showed that the safety pin could be inserted even when the seat was in an unsafe position; giving the impression the seat was safe, the coroner said.

However the coroner noted that the failure of the handle should not have proved fatal as the parachute should have opened when Flt Lt Cunningham was ejected.

Mr Fisher also criticised Martin Baker for a "serious failure of communication" relating to known risks associated with over-tightening of crucial nuts and bolts which could "hinder or prevent" the deployment of the main parachute.

Despite being aware of the risks since 1990, Martin Baker failed to warn the Ministry of Defence, the coroner said.

Matt Price was at Lincoln Corner's Court:

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