UPDATED | The pilot of the Hawker Hunter T7 in Royal Air Force livery with registration G-BXFI that crashed on the A27 motorway near Shoreham Airfield in England on Saturday 23 August 2015 is in very critical condition, authorities confirm on Sunday. During a vertical loop – part of the Hawker’s Shoreham Airshow display, the 1950s era fighter-bomber ended the manoeuvre way to low, crashing onto the road killing at least eleven motorists and injuring another 14.
According to the airshow program list former RAF Harrier and current civilian Airbus pilot Andy Hill would be on the controls of the Hawker Hunter, but authorities have so far officially not confirmed that it was indeed “Hilz” – as his callsign goes – that was taken by rescue services from the crash site to the hospital. It is not clear why the Hawker pilot performed the loop so he would come out this low, or that a technical failure in the plane contributed to the accident.
Original video footage of the Hawker T7 crash by Dan Tube
Hawker Siddeley developed the Hunter in the 1950s, with the aircraft serving in the fighter-interceptor, fighter-bomber and reconnaissance role with the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and 21 other air forces worldwide. About 1,970 Hawker Hunters were introduced into service with from 1954 and onward. Most retired the Hunter in the 1990s, but the Lebanese Air Force kept at lest three fighter-bomber versions and one conversion trainer mothballed for future service until 2014.
A fair number of Hawker Hunters operated by civilian enthousiasts make regular appearance at today’s airshows, including those painted in Swiss Air Force, Swedish Air Force and Royal Netherlands Air Force liveries.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Hawker Hunter T7 with registration G-XBFI on 6 October 2013 during the Old Warden Autumn Airshow (Image (CC) Alan Wilson)