Red Arrow Hawk XX177 (Service Inquiry): 6th February 2014

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Anna Soubry)
I wish to inform the House of the findings of the service inquiry into the accident involving RAF Aerobatic Team Hawk T Mk 1 XXI77 on 8 November 2011, in which Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham was tragically killed.

On the day of the accident, Flight Lieutenant Cunningham was undertaking pre-flight checks at RAF Scampton when the front cockpit ejection seat firing sequence was inadvertently initiated and he was ejected from the aircraft. The main parachute failed to deploy and he sustained fatal injuries.

A service inquiry was convened by the director general of the Military Aviation Authority to examine the cause of the accident and to make recommendations to prevent recurrence. The service inquiry panel has conducted an independent, thorough and objective inquiry and its report has been completed.

A copy of the full service inquiry report has been provided to relevant defence stakeholders to ensure the timely dissemination of these air safety lessons. The recommendations have all been addressed or are in the process of being addressed.

The coroner’s inquest into the death of Flight Lieutenant Cunningham has now concluded. As such, a copy of the service inquiry, redacted in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, is being placed in the Library of the House today and on the gov.uk website.