** Civilian Aircraft Registration G-RORI. This particular jet trainer aircraft was built in 1963 - although in 2015, like all aircraft, very little of the original build remains, as parts are constantly swapped out and replaced over the years.
Folland Gnats have been around since 1955, a British swept wing subsonic jet trainer, sometimes 'milspec' specified as a 'light jet fighter'. The Folland Gnat XR 538 pictured above, entered service with the RAF later in 1963 and was based at RAF Valley.
XR 583 was used as a trainer jet with RAF No4 Flying Training School until 1979. Some 16 years of instructional training service with the RAF. G-RORI was painted by the Heritage Aircraft Trust in the traditional red design of No4 Flying Training School to pay tribute to the many thousands of pilots who had sat behind its controls, and also the ground teams who had also qualified servicing the jet aircraft.
As far as we can tell, this particular aircraft specifically XR 583 (G-RORI) was never intended to be part of the Yellow Jackets/Red Arrow display teams, just a very reliable fast jet trainer.
However for the sake of clarity other Gnats (specifically look for XR prefix) XM693, XM698, XM705, XM708
XP514, XP531, XP535, XP539
XR540, XR545, XR572, XR955, XR977, XR981, XR986, XR987, XR991, XR992, XR993, XR994, XR995, XR996
XS101, XS107, XS111 were used for display.
The pilot Kevin Whyman who tragically lost his life earlier today, worked in the City, was fully and very professionally trained and qualified by the former owners of the jet. It is now confirmed that he completed a Flying Scholarship with the RAF aged 18, and then joined the RAF in 1998.
Born in Chester, he underwent fast jet training on the Tucano and Hawk aircraft before leaving the RAF in 2001, to take up a career in Investment Banking. Kevin Whyman completed his civilian flying licenses after leaving the RAF.
Some four years after leaving the RAF; Kevin Whyman then started flying the Folland Gnat, 10 years ago in 2005, and founded the Gnat Display Team with colleagues in 2007.
An Air Accident Investigation enquiry has already been opened.
Our condolences go out to his family and his wider flying family who will also be sharing this tragic loss. JB
SATURDAY 18:00hrs The pilot is now named as Kevin Whyman. Investigation teams are already on site.
The Heritage Aircraft Trust, operator of the Gnat Display Team, said he will be "greatly missed". He leaves a wife and daughter.