'Unsafe' RAF Airshow Pilot Suspended
An RAF pilot has been taken off airshow duty for apparently putting a little extra into his job. Flt. Lt. Tom Saunders is flying a desk after someone had a look at the flight data recorder in the BAE Hawk jet he flew in airshows and determined he was flying too aggressively. According to the London Daily Telegraph, the RAF was apparently worried Saunders could have blacked out during his routine because of the Gs recorded. "He was a bit of a naughty boy who did things he should not have been doing, pulling too many Gs without telling anyone on the ground about it," an unnamed RAF source told the paper. "What he was doing was not particularly safe and by not telling people about it was not a good thing to do." Our limited research suggests the aircraft is certified for +8 and -4Gs and it's not known which parameter was allegedly exceeded.
The less interesting and official line from the Defense Ministry is that they're very sorry but there was nothing else that could be done. "It is with considerable regret that Flt. Lt. Tom Saunders has been withdrawn from his role as the Hawk solo display pilot for the remainder of the summer display season," the ministry said in a statement. "This follows an incident which took place recently involving the Hawk display aircraft. The RAF is aware of how popular the Hawk solo display is and apologises for any disappointment caused." The Hawk is widely used as a jet trainer. The U.S. Navy uses a version called the Goshawk.