THE engineer with the Red Arrows aerobatic team who was killed on March 20, Jon Bayliss, is a former pupil of West Kent College.
Corporal Bayliss died when the Hawk T1 aircraft he was flying in crashed at RAF Valley in Wales. The causes of the incident are not yet known.
Jim Mawby, Vice Principal of Curriculum at West Kent, said: “We are always immensely proud of our former students who have gone on to have hugely successful careers and were deeply saddened to hear of Jonathan’s death.
“Our sincerest condolences go out to his family. Our thoughts are with them at this time.”
The 41-year-old was born in Dartford and grew up in Hartley, near Sevenoaks. After leaving West Kent he studied engineering management at the University of Greenwich and worked at Brands Hatch racetrack before joining the Royal Air Force in 2001.
He became a member of the Red Arrows team in 2016 and this year he was chosen to work for their exclusive band of travelling support engineers, known as the ‘Circus’.
Sergeant Will Allen, a close colleague and the Circus leader, said: “Jon had the ability to motivate and inspire a team and those around him – no matter the rank, role or person.
“He was so proud to have been chosen to join the Circus team for 2018 and, in being one of the small group of engineers whose job it was to fly in a Red Arrows jet, had fulfilled a schoolboy dream.”