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Inquest hears Red Arrows cut back displays after pilot death

Sean Cunningham died in November 2011 Credit: ITV News Central

An inquest has been told that the Red Arrows have cut back on flying displays after the death of pilot Sean Cunningham.

The 35-year-old from Coventry died at RAF Scampton in November 2011 when he was ejected from his aircraft while it was on the ground.

Group Commander David Bentley. who oversees the aerobatics team, has told a hearing in Lincoln that the reduction in the number of displays was one of a number of changes made after the fatal incident:

""We are doing less. We have more people. We have better oversight and we have better communications."

The coroner is due to deliver his verdict later this week.

Red Arrows cleared for new displays

The RAF's Red Arrows air display team has been cleared to fly this year Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The RAF's Red Arrows air display team, based in Lincolnshire, has been cleared to fly in displays this year, the RAF said.

The team, based at RAF Scampton, has been cleared by the Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Dalton to fly.

Two Red Arrows pilots died in accidents in 2011, meaning only seven aircraft flew in formations last year instead of nine due to a lack of time to train new pilots.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging from Rutland and Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham were both killed in separate accidents.

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Downing Street denies Red Arrows due for cuts

he Red Arrows Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team fly in formation over the Queen Victoria Memorial last year. Credit: PA

Downing Street has tweeted to say that any suggestion the Red Arrows would be axed "is wrong."

Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy, commenting on a report in the Daily Mirror that the Red Arrows could be axed because of cuts to the defence budget, said Britons would be "dismayed" if it were true.

"The Red Arrows are part of our national character and history," he said.

"The country would be dismayed if they were scrapped to make yet more savings in defence, which the Prime Minister seemed to rule out just days ago."

Mural commemorating Red Arrows pilot Jon Egging

Large-scale mural commemorating Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging Credit: Arts University College at Bournemouth

A large-scale mural commemorating Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, is due to go on display in Bournemouth.

The 20ft wide image shows the Red Arrows in flight alongside a picture of Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging.

Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging Credit: ITV Central

The Red Arrows pilot, who lived in Rutland and was based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, died when his plane crashed during the Bournemouth Air Festival last year.