The Red Arrows pilot killed in an accident at RAF Scampton on Tuesday has been named as 34-year-old Sean Cunningham. The Iraq War vet is the second Red Arrows pilot to be killed this year, following the death of Jon Egging after a display near Bournemouth back in August.
Born in South Africa, Sean Cunningham moved to the UK at the age of nine. He was reportedly close to pursuing a career as a professional footballer, but opted instead to train for the RAF.
He joined the RAF in 2000 and he went on to fly Tornado GR4s during the Iraq War as part of 617 “The Dambusters” Squadron based at Scotland’s RAF Lossiemouth. In 2010, Cunningham joined the Red Arrows, and this year he was promoted to the Red 5 position within the squadron.
Pending an investigation, the RAF has grounded all jets with a particular type of ejector seat. The circumstances of Cunningham’s death are still not entirely clear, but it’s believed that the ejector seat fired while he was sitting in the jet on the tarmac.