THE wife of a pilot from Rutland, who was killed when the Red Arrows plane he was flying crashed, has paid tribute to him.
Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, from Morcott, died when the Hawk T1 Red 4 aircraft crashed about 1km south east of Bournemouth Airport at 1.50pm on Saturday.
It was one of nine Red Arrows aircraft that had earlier taken part in a display at Bournemouth Air Festival over the seafront. The Red Arrows team has now been grounded while investigators look into the cause of the crash.
His wife Dr Emma Egging, who was at the air show and had watched the Red Arrows display, said: “Jon was everything to those who knew him and he was the best friend and husband I could ever have wished for.
“There was nothing bad about Jon. He loved his job and was an exemplary pilot. Watching him, I was the proudest I’ve ever been.
“I loved everything about him and he will be missed.”
Flt Lt Egging joined the display team in autumn last year, having previously served with IV(AC) Squadron, based at RAF Cottesmore, where he flew the Harrier GR9.
He became the squadron qualified flying instructor during his last year on with the squadron, making the transition to teach on the Harrier operational conversion unit, based at RAF Wittering, in April 2010.
He has also flown on operational missions in Afghanistan.
Group Capt Simon Blake, the commandant of the RAF’s Central Flying School, paid tribute to Flt Lt Egging, who was known to colleagues and friends as Eggman.
He said: “A gifted aviator, he was chosen to fly in the Red 4 slot, on the right hand outside of the famous Diamond Nine formation - an accolade in itself being the most demanding position allocated to a first year pilot.
“Throughout his winter training and the display season to date, his professionalism, skill and humility have shone through.
“A true team player, his good nature and constant smile will be sorely missed by all.
“In such a close knit team, this tragedy will be keenly felt by his fellow team members, the Reds and all of the engineering and support staff, the Blues.”
Air Vice Marshal Mark Green, Air Officer Commanding 22 (Training) Group, said he met Flt Lt Egging in 2003, when he became his station commander.
He said: “Even at that early stage in his career, Jon’s professionalism, competence and ever present smile made him stand out from the crowd. Hence, his eventual selection for duties with the Red Arrows came as no surprise.
“His time with the team was typified by the characteristics that were Jon’s trademark: professionalism, enthusiasm for life and a willingness to help others that transcended all boundaries.
“Jon will be sorely missed by all those that had the privilege to know him; our thoughts and prayers are with Jon’s family and friends at this tragic time.”
The Ministry of Defence has launched an inquiry into how the crash happened.
To pay tribute to Flt Lt Egging, e-mail email@example.com