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Sqdn Ldr Ray Hanna AFC*

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Sqdn Ldr Ray Hanna AFC*

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Old 7th Sep 2006, 00:19
  #221 (permalink)  
 
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Re: earlier Goodwood Revival

Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
I agree. It was a wonderful tribute.
Ray contributed significantly to the success of the Goodwood Revival, and it was good to see that recognised in an appropriate way.
For those who didn't recognise the setting, this picture I posted earlier in the thread was taken at one of the Revival meetings. (It's not my photograph, so I don't know which.)

Entirely agree about Hoof. When he was killed, it was more than the loss of a superb pilot - he was wonderful company.
Lee is a fine display pilot and a credit to his father.
Another link - one of the drivers in the Tourist Trophy race was Alain de Cadenet - commentator in the famous 'Oh my God!' video.
Video
Tudor
Flying Lawyer- This momentous pic. of Ray was taken at the opening of the first Goodwood Revival, 18th Sept. 1998. which caused quite a stir!! Yes, the tribute to Ray on Sunday was SO poignant, & SO deserved, the one minute silence broken only by the flypast of two Spitfires, and the sun breaking through the clouds .... so missed ...
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Old 22nd Sep 2006, 14:44
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These pictures of the tribute to Ray at Goodwood were sent to me by Dave Williamson from Sydney, Australia.
He has very kindly allowed me to add them to our tribute thread.













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Old 25th Sep 2006, 20:42
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Landing at Goodwood 2005


Photograph by David Richardson, who writes:
"I'm just your ordinary "Joe" enthusiast, but was privileged to have seen many of his displays both official and "unofficial" over the years and came to know him as the best.

Sadly I didn't see the "Goodwood Pass" as it happened on the first Friday, but suffice to say the place was buzzing about it when I arrived the following day.

The tribute to Ray at this year's Goodwood Revival was magnificent, with an immaculately observed minutes silence, brought to a close, rightly, by two Spitfires overhead."
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 23:14
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Question more wonderful flying by Ray

Really good 'photos thankyou, I totally forgot to use my camera so 'away' with the moment ...... Another record of Ray's flying I have been trying to obtain is 'Piece of Cake' any info. please, on where available ?
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 22:42
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Talking found it!!

It's ok, I've just ordered Piece of Cake! Amazing, but a dvd mail order catalogue arrived with the post today and there it was in the titles !! spooky! + Flying Legends Duxford 2005 !
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Old 1st Dec 2006, 07:48
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Squadron Leader RAY HANNA. AFC* 28-08-28 --- 01-12-05

For Ray -- NEVER Forgotten, ALWAYS There ....
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Old 1st Dec 2006, 10:00
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Thank you for the reminder Halfpenny. I'll raise a glass to Ray this afternoon.

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Old 3rd Dec 2006, 13:28
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Ray Hanna AFC*

28 Aug 19281 Dec 2005


Ray was buried at the Parish Church next to his home at Parham, Suffolk

on the 15th December 2005.






All of us here today, Ray’s family and close friends, have at least one thing in common: In our different ways, we all loved Ray.
· Eunice’s love – the abiding and unconditional love of a wife who loyally supported him for 48 years - and whom Ray called every day when his work took him away from home.
· Sarah’s love - the love of a daughter who adored her father and helped him so much with the Old Flying Machine Company; a daughter of whom Ray was so proud.
· The love of Ray’s brother from New Zealand who was so proud of him.
· And the love of the rest of us - his friends - who were honoured and privileged to be so.

We’re going to miss Ray and so, in a different way, will many who never met him. Ray touched the lives of literally millions of people - because his outstanding talent gave so much pleasure to so many over some 40 years.
Tributes from all over the world started flowing in to ‘PPRuNe’, the professional pilots’ website, from the moment Ray’s death was announced, and they continue. By this morning, there had been more than 40,000 views of those tributes.
A former Red Arrows Leader who originally flew as a member of Ray’s team wrote: “He was my role model, my hero.”
A pilot who was a First Officer at Cathay Pacific when Ray was a Captain wrote “He flew airliners with the same finesse and professionalism as he flew jet fighters.
Another wrote “I was always pleased when the roster showed Ray was captain – I knew it would be fun.”
It seems that everyone who ever met Ray not only had enormous respect for his exceptional flying ability, but liked him as a man.

My reaction when I heard the news was a mixture of a deep sense of loss and great shock. It was just unbelievable – a word I was to hear so many times in the ensuing days.
When people die having passed their 3 score years and 10, we’re often inclined to say: ‘It’s very sad, but he/she had a good life, or a good innings.’ I cannot imagine anyone who actually knew Ray saying that about his death. Certainly he had a good life – but he was still enjoying it to the full. And, as for innings, Ray was still hitting every ball way over the boundary.

Ray was 77, although he didn’t look it - and wouldn’t thank me for reminding you - but I doubt if it ever occurred to any one of us that Ray wouldn’t be around for years yet. Ray went too soon - but what a wonderful legacy he’s left us, both in things we can only see in our memories and things we can actually see around us.
  • Ray will be remembered as the best display pilot the world has seen.
  • He’ll be remembered as the man who led the Red Arrows to new heights of excellence, and firmly established them on the world stage as the premier formation display team.
  • He’ll be remembered for those wonderful displays in his Spitfire which enthralled airshow crowds for more than three decades.
  • We’ll remember his ability to fly exceptionally low with safety and precision which invariably evoked rapturous applause during air shows.
  • And how, a few hours later, as the show drew to a close, the same spectators would watch in total silence, with tears in many an eye, as Ray in his Spitfire performed the most graceful aerial ballet against the setting sun.
Those are memories, but
  • We’ll actually be able see part of the legacy Ray’s left us every time we see the Arrows displaying. Subsequent leaders freely admit that the premier position the team still holds today is largely due to the solid foundations he laid 40 years ago.
  • We’ll see his legacy in the countless pilots who were inspired to embark upon their careers by watching him fly.
  • The skill and absolute professionalism with which he approached his flying was the target for which other display pilots aimed and will continue to aim. He never pushed himself to the front but, when Ray spoke, other pilots listened; when he flew, other pilots watched – and learned.
  • Ray has gone, but he set the standard other pilots will continue to strive to achieve.
  • For many years to come, however good a talented display pilot is considered to be, the question will always be – ‘But is he as good as Ray Hanna?’
During Ray’s life, the answer was always ‘No.’
He ended what transpired to be his last display season in the position he ended his first, 40 years ago – at the very top.

But Ray wasn’t only the best display pilot the world has seen - he was a good man.
He was a gentleman in every sense of the word; a man of fine personal qualities.
He was a kind man, caring of others and always ready to help if when he could.
If there was time, I could give you many examples. But there isn’t, and there’s no need – because you’ll each have your own memories of his great kindness.

Ray and Mark did a wonderful job building up the OFMC, but it’s just as well the objective wasn’t to make it some enormous business. Integrity can be a hindrance in the hard world of business and, apart from that, Ray was far too generous to be businessman.
He was a man of enormous integrity himself and was inclined to trust others. He sometimes found, to his cost, that others didn’t have the quite the same high standards. Like father like son in that, and so many other respects.

Ray was a strong man, with a steely resolve when it mattered.
Who else but someone with those qualities would, at the age of 21, work his passage on a boat from New Zealand in the hope of becoming a pilot in the RAF? A hope, no more - no guarantee that he’d be accepted.

That inner strength served him well when he had to cope with losing Mark. They had enormous, and entirely justified, pride and respect for each other. They worked closely together and Mark’s tragic death was a devastating blow. The courage and fortitude with which Ray, Eunice and Sarah coped with their private pain, and Ray returned to flying form, earned all our admiration.

Ray was a wonderful mixture -
  • Strength and great kindness
  • Steely resolve and gentleness
  • Professional pride in his approach to flying – yet unbelievably modest about his exceptional ability and great achievements.
In many ways, the way Ray displayed aircraft reflected his personality -
He never showed off his own abilities; he always showed off to best advantage the capability of whatever aircraft he was displaying.

He was modest to a fault - never comfortable about accepting compliments.

· Ray was typically modest when interviewed about his outstanding leadership of the Arrows: “There are only three basic manoeuvres; the rest are just variations.”
Anyone would think it was by chance that under his leadership, the team achieved acclaim as the best formation display team in the world and became the public face of the Royal Air Force.
Fortunately, the RAF knew it wasn’t just by chance – he was awarded a Bar to the Air Force Cross he’d been awarded seven years earlier for outstanding feats of airmanship as a fighter pilot.

· Asked in a television documentary to comment upon his magnificent Spitfire displays: “Well, I don’t know, the displays I do now are basically the same as I did in the 1970s.”
Odd then how any display pilot, and many spectators, could tell if it was Ray displaying a Spitfire.

· And in the same programme, asked to describe a most impressive sequence while filming for a television series. Ray flew along a river and under a bridge: “Well, we had to check the clearances, horizontal and vertical, and remove a few boughs from some trees overhanging the river but, apart from that, nothing particularly remarkable.”
No, Ray, nothing remarkable at all. Anyone could have done it.

As I read all the wonderful tributes paid to Ray, I couldn’t help wonder what he would have said about them. I knew the answer; the same as he’d say about the compliments I’m paying him today. I’m sure we can all hear him saying – “What a load of old rubbish!”

Ray was great company.
We’re going to miss that wonderfully dry sense of humour - which sometimes caught out even those who knew him well.
Did he mean that?
And then, with perfect timing, those twinkling eyes and half-smile would reveal - of course he didn’t.
We’ll miss Ray’s company, but the truth is he’s gone to a better place …..

There are many mansions or dwelling-places in Heaven. We know that because Jesus told us. Just imagine the welcome for Ray in the one where the pilots live:
· Seeing Ray will be enough to make Stef Karwowski get off the heavenly equivalent of his mobile phone.
· ‘Hoof’ Proudfoot will have them aching with laughter in no time.
· And dear Mark will be so beside himself with happiness at seeing Father again that he’ll charmingly explain to a host of beautiful young lady angels that he really has to go.

Blue skies and puffy white clouds every day, fly to your heart’s content and, best of all for Ray - Fly as low as you want because Heaven doesn’t have a CAA.
Just imagine the reminiscing when they and other old friends get together. There’ll be happiness in Heaven today.

Well, Ray is gone …….


We can shed tears that he’s gone,
Or we can smile because Ray lived.
We can close our eyes and pray he’ll come back,
Or we can open our eyes and see the legacy he’s left.
Our hearts can be empty because we can’t now see him,
Or be full of the love that we all shared for him.
We can turn our backs on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or we can be happy for tomorrow, because of yesterday.
We can remember him and only that he’s gone,
Or we can cherish Ray’s memory and let it live on.
We can cry and close our minds, be empty at our loss,
Or we can do what Ray would want ...
Smile, Open our eyes, Love and Go on.








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Old 3rd Dec 2006, 13:33
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Address at the Service of Thanksgiving

for the Life of


Squadron Leader Raynham Hanna AFC*

1928 – 2005


St Clement Danes Church, London

2nd March 2006





‘The best pilot of his generation, in the world.‘
‘The best display pilot, ever.’
‘He was my role model.’
‘I became a pilot after watching him fly.’
‘He was the Master.’
Such were the epithets which echoed around the aviation world when the sad news broke that aviation had lost one of its most respected pilots, and one of its most respected men.

Where did it all begin?

What has brought hundreds of us here today, to the Central Church of the Royal Air Force?

It all began with a teenager in a small town called Takapuna, just outside Auckland, who loved being taken by his parents to Auckland airfield to watch the aeroplanes through the fence. Ray’s dream was to fly and, after leaving Auckland Grammar School, he set about turning that dream into reality, learning to fly Tiger Moths and going solo in just over 8 hours.
In January 1949 at the age of 20, Ray worked his passage on a steamer from New Zealand in the hope of joining the RAF.

Having earned a modest promotion during the voyage, he arrived in England with additional funds. What was a young chap to do - with unexpected money in his pocket and all the delights of London on offer?
Go flying of course!
March and April 1949 saw Ray at Redhill using up what remained of his savings – and going solo in a Magister in 1½ hrs.

It was May 1950 before Ray began his flight training in the RAF. Despite not having flown for a year, he went solo in a Prentice in under 4 hours, and graduated to the Harvard a few months later. Many years later, Mark and I were to share a Harvard. Ray’s affection for that aircraft remained - despite the numerous more exciting and more exotic aircraft he’d flown in the intervening 35 years.
Earning his Wings before piston-engine fighters were superseded began a passion which was to last a life-time and give pleasure to literally millions later in his life.

Ray’s first operational posting to 79 Squadron at RAF Guttesloh was an extraordinary achievement for a pilot of then limited experience - flying the Meteor in the fighter reconnaissance role was one of the most demanding for a single-seat pilot. Ray loved it. Not only was he now authorised to indulge his passion for low flying – he was required to do it.
“Four years never above 100 feet, and usually lower", as he once fondly described it to me, enabled Ray to hone a skill which was to enthral spectators, and earn the respect of other pilots, for decades.


Ray was subsequently posted to the Overseas Ferry Unit at RAF Benson. He flew virtually all the early jet fighters, ferrying many of them to and from India and the Far East. The flights were not always uneventful:
In October 1956, while returning a Vampire to Britain, the aircraft's engine failed over India. Ray made a skilful forced landing amongst a series of giant ant-hills close to a railway line. He waited for a passing train which eventually came, and stopped for him. One problem - the guard refused to let him board because he was unable to pay the fare. Ray offered his watch as payment, the guard scribbled out an IOU and he was allowed to travel.
Ray's log books contain a virtual history of the RAF over two decades: Tiger Moth, Auster, Prentice, Harvard, Chipmunk, Provost, Balliol, Tempest, Sea Fury, Oxford, Anson, Devon, Beaufighter, Hastings, Jet Provost, Vampire, Venom, Attacker, Sea Hawk, Hunter, Swift, Javelin, Canberra and, of course, the Gnat.
You’ll be relieved to hear I’m not going to go through every type. It would take too long. For most of us, it’s an honour to be invited to fly someone else’s aircraft – owners regarded it as an honour if Ray Hanna flew their aircraft.

Ray’s posting to Benson did more than allow him to fly a wide variety of types - it gave him the opportunity meet someone very special: the young lady Royal Navy officer who was to be his loving and loyal wife, and greatest supporter, for 48 years.
Going through Ray’s logbooks – what a fascinating read - I noticed a civvy entry for May 1st 1961 which was a very special flight. Passengers: EH & MH. Eunice & Mark - then aged 18 months!

Ray was already an outstanding fighter pilot with noted aerobatics talent and considerable experience in squadron formation teams, when an official Royal Air Force aerobatics display team was formed in 1965. The ‘Black Arrows’ of Treble One and the ‘Blue Diamonds’ of 92 Squadron had been particularly successful but, with the loss of fighter squadrons because of budget constraints – plus ça change - Central Flying School where Ray was then a QFI was asked to provide an official full-time team: The Red Arrows were born.
He was an obvious choice for the team and, within a year, was made Leader.

Ray epitomised the qualities required to lead a group of brilliant fighter pilots. An experienced fighter pilot himself, his outstanding flying skill, determination, modest authority and professionalism proved an inspiration to his colleagues. He earned the respect and total confidence of his team.
Dickie Duckett, who's here today, flew under Ray in those early days and led the team himself a decade later. He says: “Ray had an instinctive feel for display flying. His exceptional flying ability and air of calm confidence inspired us to follow him without question. We had complete trust in him.”
Ian Dick, another Leader here today, who originally flew as a member of Ray’s team says: 'He was my hero, my role model. He was simply the best.'
The team didn't only have enormous respect for him as a pilot and as their Leader, flying in Ray's team was enjoyable.
Henry Prince, who's here today, was a member of the team in its first three years and led the the synchro pair. He recalls two new members joining at the beginning of 1966, during the shake down period in readiness for the season - Doug McGregor and the late Frank Hoare who led the team himself in later years. They were taken to the pan to watch Ray air test a Gnat.
He took off from the very end of Fairford’s long runway and, as was possible if the Gnat was light and without slipper tanks, was airborne with the gear up half way along the runway. Ray banked left through the pan, did a wing-over and came back to do a tight turn between the hangars before departing for the short air test and then returning to do a low level ‘beat-up’ before landing.
The new members' faces were incredulous by then - but their eyes were positively out on stalks when Ray got out and warned them in feigned seriousness (and to the amusement of the old hands) “Now, I don’t ever want to see you flying lower than that!”
But Ray’s mastery of the display pilot’s art went far beyond his legendary handling skills; he knew how to display. His
leadership brought a style and panache into displays which took the Red Arrows to new heights of excellence which earned worldwide acclaim.
Raymond Baxter, WWII Spitfire pilot and distinguished broadcaster, whom I see here today, put it so well when we were chatting a few weeks ago: “Ray brought a new element of spectacle and artistry to display aerobatics.”
Ray's approach changed formation display flying for ever:
· His formations were tighter: Distance between the aircraft varying between 10 and 4 feet, depending upon the manoeuvre being flown. The formation flew as if it was one big aircraft.
· The highlights of previous and contemporary formation aerobatics displays, here and abroad, were achieved at the expense of intervals of empty sky while the team repositioned. Ray’s underlying philosophy was that each manoeuvre should flow seamlessly into the next or, as he often told his team: ‘If the crowd have time to lick their ice creams, we aren’t doing our job properly!”

It worked. The transformation wasn’t gradual - the Red Arrows almost instantly became a star attraction across the world.
The Team was originally a 7-ship, but Ray was eventually given two more aircraft and the ‘Diamond 9’ remains the team’s ‘signature’ formation – and eventually became the Squadron badge.

There was the occasional brush with higher authority who felt some manoeuvres were a little too punchy - but Ray stood his ground well, and usually persuaded the Air Marshals that they were carefully designed to look exciting but were actually quite safe.


Ray pushed to the limits, but never over them – although he was sometimes on them:
In 1967, at Rimini, Ray set off with Red 2 ‘Dinger’ Bell (again, who’s here today) to do a recce of the airfield in readiness for the display. Henry Prince and his synchro pair partner went with them to choose their reference points. At the end of their practice, the four did a Cascade Break and flew very low over what was to be the VIP enclosure for the display. As they pulled up to regain formation, Ray signalled to Dinger Bell that his radio was u/s. Closer inspection showed a gash in the alternator bulge under the fuselage. When they landed, it was obvious that Ray had hit something, but repairs were made in readiness for the next day.
At the following evening’s traditionally wonderful pilots' party, after the Arrows were awarded their gold medals of thanks, the Colonel who was leader of the Freccia Tricolore announced that he had a special award for ‘Maggiore Hanna.’
He presented, mounted on a plinth, the top of a tall whip aerial that Ray had taken off one of the vehicles the previous day!
It remains in his study at home in Parham to this day.
Those were the days - official limit 50 feet. Unofficial (and actual) limit 10 feet!

Such was the team's impact that, as early as 1967, a commentator at an air show introduced them as ‘The Red Arrows – the best aerobatic team in the world.’ Nothing remarkable about that, you may think – but it was the commentator at a French air show!

Ray served a record four years as ‘Red One’. In recognition of his exceptional leadership of what quickly became (and is today) the public face of the RAF, he was awarded a Bar to the Air Force Cross he had been awarded seven years earlier for outstanding airmanship as a fighter pilot.

Furthermore, under Ray’s leadership, the team was such a success that the Red Arrows display team was made a Squadron in its own right, no longer a unit of Central Flying School.
You may think the Red Arrows Squadron motto ‘Eclat’ (conspicuously brilliant) could not be used more appropriately than to describe Ray’s skills and professionalism.

In 1969, after conspicuous success leading the Arrows, the outstanding pilot was, for reasons only understood by those who inhabit the inscrutable world of postings and rostering, posted to a Staff job.

Ray tried but, for a man born to fly, a desk job was unbearable. He resigned.



Continued below

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 3rd Dec 2006 at 16:18.
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Old 3rd Dec 2006, 13:36
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1972 saw the start of a new career in civil aviation - initially flying a Boeing 707 for several months with Lloyd International. Two of his crew from those days have come today to pay their respects.
After seven years as a Captain with Cathay Pacific, Ray became Chief Pilot of a diplomatic organisation with world-wide operations, where he remained until retirement.

Tributes from pilots all over the world who remember Ray from different stages of his long and varied flying career flowed in to ‘PPRuNe’, the professional pilots’ website, from the moment Ray’s death was announced.
A pilot who was a First Officer at Cathay Pacific when Ray was a Captain wrote “He flew airliners with the same finesse and professionalism as he flew jet fighters.
Another wrote “I was always pleased when the roster showed Ray was captain – I knew it would be fun.”
It seems that everyone who ever met Ray not only had enormous respect for his exceptional flying ability, but liked him and respected him as a man.

Ray’s Red Arrows years were only the beginning of his enormous contribution to British display flying. For three more decades, he commanded universal respect in the civilian airshow world, not only in this country but internationally.

In 1970, he was invited by Sir Adrian Swire, who read the Lesson, to display MH434 - the famous Mk IX Spitfire which Ray later acquired. It was the beginning of a long relationship between man and machine which will remain for ever in the memories of Ray’s myriad admirers.



Ray was an outstandingly talented pilot who never showed off his own ability; he always showed off the capabilities of which ever aircraft he displayed.
Alex Henshaw MBE, Chief Production Test Pilot at Supermarine’s largest wartime Spitfire factory, who’s here today, told me only a few weeks ago: “Of all the displays I’ve seen since the war, and I’ve seen many, no other pilot had Ray’s ability to demonstrate precisely what the Spitfire was designed to do.”
In 1976, Ray taught Mark to fly, aged 16. Father and son enjoyed a mutual, and entirely justified, respect and pride. Ray’s obvious delight when Mark earned his Wings is still vividly remembered by those rehearsing for the graduation parade. They were treated to a spectacular demonstration of flying skill:
The distinctive sound of a Merlin engine was quickly followed by a Spitfire appearing at an impressive angle of bank from around a hanger, and ‘slaloming’ at speed through the dispersal floodlight pylons - before making an extremely low pass in front of the hangars.
Unthinkable these days, sadly, but it was executed with Ray’s characteristic precision and safety – away from public view – and those watching were thrilled.
Their enjoyment of the occasion was complete when Ray got out of the cockpit wearing a smart shirt, tie and waistcoat, unfolded his suit jacket and walked off to the Officers Mess a picture of sartorial elegance.
All pilots were assembled the next morning to be warned by the OC(Ops), in no uncertain terms, that they were not to attempt to emulate Squadron Leader Hanna in their Jet Provosts!
In 1981, Ray formed the Old Flying Machine Company with Mark - by then a Phantom pilot - restoring and operating WWII warbirds at Duxford. Mark was already an experienced and exceptionally talented display pilot and the OFMC became so busy that Mark later resigned from the RAF to run the company full time.
In later years they were joined by Sarah. Someone had to actually run the company – her father and brother were far more interested in flying.

Their stunning performances on the international display circuit led to their being in regular demand by film-makers. Breathtaking flying sequences in Empire of the Sun (1987) and Memphis Belle (1989) led to numerous film credits, and to Stephen Spielberg insisting their services be engaged for his film Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Mark’s tragic death in 1999, in a landing accident which Ray witnessed, was a devastating blow. The public courage and fortitude with which he coped with his private pain, and gradually returned to his flying form to continue the project they began, earned him widespread admiration.

Ray was a gentleman; impeccably courteous, of absolute integrity and unfailingly loyal to his friends.
His dry sense of humour occasionally caught out even those who knew him well.
Did he really mean that? Then, with perfect timing, his twinkling eyes and half smile revealed – of course he didn’t.
He wasn’t afraid to stand his ground when necessary and, although never impolite, wasn’t afraid to be blunt when occasion demanded - the latter often not unrelated to his profound dislike of bureaucracy!

Famously approachable, Ray remained totally unaffected by the immense esteem in which he was held.
Although intolerant of all but the highest standards, he was a kind man who willingly gave his time to advise the less experienced and encourage aspiring pilots achieve their ambition.
Countless pilots who never actually met him were inspired to fly by seeing his displays as youngsters.
Ray was modest to a fault, never entirely comfortable about accepting compliments:
He was typically modest when interviewed about his outstanding leadership of the Arrows: “There are only three basic manoeuvres; the rest are just variations.”
Anyone would think it was just by chance that, under his leadership, the team achieved acclaim as the best formation display team in the world and became the public face of the RAF.
Asked in a television documentary to comment upon his magnificent Spitfire displays: “Well, I don’t know, the displays I do now are basically the same as I did in the 1970s.”
Odd then how any display pilot, and many spectators, could tell if it was Ray displaying a Spitfire.
And in the same interview, asked to describe a most impressive sequence while filming for the television series ‘Piece of Cake’ in which Ray flew the Spitfire along a river and under a bridge: “Well, we had to check the clearances, horizontal and vertical, and remove a few boughs from some trees overhanging the river but, apart from that, nothing particularly remarkable.”
No, Ray, nothing remarkable at all. Anyone could have done it.
We’re going to miss Ray and so, in a different way, will many who never met him. Ray touched the lives of literally millions of people – because his outstanding talent gave so much pleasure to so many over some 40 years.
Ray was 77, although he didn’t look it – and wouldn’t thank me for reminding you – but I doubt if it ever occurred to any one of us that Ray wouldn’t be around for years yet.


He went too soon, but what a wonderful legacy he’s left us, both in things we can only see in our memories and things we can actually see around us:
Ray will be remembered by everyone as one of the best display pilots the world has seen and, by most, as the best - ‘The Master’
He’ll be remembered as the man who led the Red Arrows to new heights of excellence, and firmly established them on the world stage as the premier formation display team.
He’ll be remembered for those wonderful displays in his Spitfire which enthralled air show crowds for more than three decades.
We’ll remember his ability to fly exceptionally low with safety and precision which invariably evoked rapturous applause during air shows.
And how, a few hours later, as the show drew to a close, the same spectators would watch in total silence, with tears in many an eye, as Ray in his Spitfire performed the most graceful aerial ballet against the setting sun.
Those are memories, but …..
We’ll actually be able see the legacy Ray’s left every time we enjoy the Arrows display. Today’s displays still conform to the template Ray developed, and subsequent leaders freely admit that the premier position the team still holds is largely due to the solid foundation he laid 40 years ago.
We’ll be able to see his legacy in the countless pilots who were inspired to embark upon their careers by watching him fly.
The skill and absolute professionalism with which he approached his flying was the target for which other pilots aimed. He never pushed himself to the front but, when Ray spoke, other pilots listened; when he flew, other pilots watched. And they learned. Ray has gone, but the standard he set remains the standard which other display pilots will continue to strive to achieve.
For many years to come, however good a talented display pilot is considered to be, the question will always be – ‘Yes, but is he as good as Ray Hanna?’
During his life, the answer was always ‘No.’
Ray ended what turned out to be his last season in the position he ended his first, 40 years ago – at the very top.
No mean feat, to remain at the peak of a young man’s pursuit while still display flying at the age of 77.


What has brought hundreds of us here today?

As I look around the Church, I see Lords of the Land, Knights of the Realm, former and serving RAF officers of all ranks up to Air Chief Marshal, current and former Red Arrows pilots and ground-crew, the Shadow Minister for Defence, the New Zealand Air Attaché and representatives of other governments, representatives of the Royal Aeronautical Society, past Masters and the Master-Elect of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, eminent pilots from military and civil aviation.

Who would have thought that, one day, so many distinguished people - and hundreds of people like myself, just ordinary aviators - would gather to pay their respects and to give thanks to God for the life of that youngster who looked longingly through the fence at Auckland airport and dreamed of being a pilot.

But he was no ordinary youngster – he was Ray Hanna.





I apologise sincerely for not posting the tributes sooner, having promised many Ppruners that I'd do so.
I hope the timing - while people are looking at this thread again on the first anniversary of Ray's death - makes up a little for that.


Tudor Owen



Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 3rd Dec 2006 at 16:21.
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Old 3rd Dec 2006, 16:22
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Thanks Tudor for the opportunity to read your wonderfully crafted tributes to Ray. He was indeed a fine man and a superb pilot.
Sincerely,
Trapper 69
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Old 8th Dec 2006, 05:36
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FL - thank you for posting your address...I have waited patiently...and the wait was worth it!

A year on I have re-read the entire thread - all 12 pages. A moving tribute indeed.

While Warbirds Over Wanaka '06 was once again an outstanding airshow, I for one certainly missed Ray in the Spitfire.

"If you're below the level of the Goldpass stand you're too low!" - funny how Ray never seemed to hear that line in the pilots' brief!!

Wonderful memories that I'll treasure!

S
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Old 8th Dec 2006, 19:12
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We won't forget him. The only thing to be at least positive about, is the two pairs of utterly capable hands that have carried on for him, Lee and Nigel.
Thought I'd share the last (and first time) that I met him - a week before Warbirds Over Wanaka '04, all of the guys except Lee, were there, crap wx, so went down to the pub for lunch. I got invited and it was definately worth it. One could look around, and the number of zeros that would add all the flying time, and different a/c types between these guys.....well you couldn't add it together, overwhelming. Ray somehow stood out from the other guys, he was someone very special, with a certain passion to flying but more importantly, to the Spitfire and I guess everyone would agree so were his displays. The aeroplane language he'd put through the controls in MH434 or Tim's, or which one it was for the day, you knew he was flying it and not someone else.
Another tribute, or form of a tribute, if you like, is a VHS production called MH434: a Spitfire's story. It is full of very captivating and enlightening interviews with Ray and Mark, produced in 1996. I could be wrong but even now, it has the feel of being a tribute, not only to that aeroplane, but more importantly, to Ray and Mark.

will never forget.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 20:30
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...and a while on a Spitfire didn't forget and flew over Parham this week.

Good call.
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Old 28th Aug 2007, 07:55
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Ray Hanna 28-08-28

BIRTHDAY REMEMBRANCE


to RAY
NEVER Forgotten......... ALWAYS There.......
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Old 1st Dec 2007, 00:22
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Squadron Leader Ray Hanna AFC* 28.08.28 - 01.12.05

In memory of RAY two years on .....


A Star still shining brightly ......


FOREVER


R.I.P.
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Old 1st Dec 2007, 11:39
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These photographs of Ray in action were sent to me recently by Tony Bailey who took them at the Goodwood Revival Press Day in 2003.












Gone, but not forgotten.
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Old 1st Dec 2007, 17:51
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Ray Hanna

RIP Ray, gone but never forgotten.

I remember when MH434 was being reassembled in our hangar (BEA Airtours) at LGW. Got to be re-acquainted with Ray as I'd first met at Biggin when we hosted the team in our hospitality tent (BUA). The guys would always visit when in the LGW area.

When he air tested 434 I watched from our car park abeam the runway, if that was an air test, well a full display practice was more like it. ATC let him rip as very little traffic.

Later knew Ray when he was with Jet Aviation, a really great chap to work with and know.


P.O. John G. Magee's "High Flight" always came to mind when watching Ray fly. A true great of greats.
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Old 2nd Dec 2007, 13:03
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Goodwood press day 2003

FL, Thankyou so much for sharing those wonderful 'photos of Ray 'THE MASTER' at Goodwood, in his beloved Spitfire, can almost hear the Merlin engine flying low & close to the flagposts, stunning flying as always. Revival memories .... so missed ..........



but thank you Alistair & Lee for continuing the amazing displays, MH434 & 'Ferocious Frankie' live!
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Old 3rd Dec 2007, 17:01
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FL, are you going to write his biography? Think that's one that definately needs to be done!
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