Elite Air Team Grounded
The air force's elite aerobatics team, the Red Checkers, has been grounded for the season after two planes touched during training this morning.
It follows the grounding of the squadron in January after Squadron Leader Nick Cree, 32, was killed in January 14 when his CT-4E Airtrainer crashed in a sand dune at Santoft, west of Bulls in Manawatu, as he practised an aerobatic manoeuvre with five other planes.
No one was hurt in today's incident, in which one aircraft was damaged, but managed to land safely at about 9.30am.
Group Captain Stephen Davies Howard, Commander of the RNZAF Training Group apologised to those looking forward to seeing the squad fly this year.
''The Red Checkers fly in close proximity to each other and this morning two of them touched. There are always risks involved in military aviation and we mitigate those risks as best we are able. How this incident happened is now being investigated as a matter of course and the prudent decision is not to fly the team again this season,'' he said.
He thanked the public for their support following the death of Mr Cree.
The Red Checkers were formed in 1969. They fly five CT 4E Air Trainer aircraft, which are also used by the flying school, and they perform regularly for the public over the summer months
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