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Sqdn Ldr Ray Hanna AFC*

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Sqdn Ldr Ray Hanna AFC*

Old 8th Dec 2005, 12:28
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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From 'that' Biggin Hill Sunday display...

Ray was the best I ever saw - and this day was the best I ever saw him.

thanks Ray



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Old 8th Dec 2005, 22:13
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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As a 'spotty spotter' I was with a pal one weekend in the 70's looking around the hangars at Shoreham when the tannoy announced that a Spitfire would was to give a short display and then land. Being a couple of Commando comic addicts and fans of all things WWII, to say we were excited at our first ever look at a Spitfire is a bit of an understatment.

We saw the ac arrive at height passing from east to west at a grand or so, then disappear out of sight. A couple of minutes later, standing on seats (good thing, Ray was flying her), I yelled 'there it is!' as MH434 arrived in the fashion mentioned on previous posts - from behind the hangars at low level. I'm not ashamed to say a tear or two was shed as MH434 rocketed pass with the Merlin in full song. The Master then gave his Masterclass to the assembled, landed, refuelled, and then departed a few minutes later.

I remember eveything about that encounter, right down to the BP decal on the side (Remember? In Sir Adrian Swire's colours). I was fortunate enough to see Ray repeat his skills at Biggin Hill for some years after (see Heliport's attachment).

All those Summer weekends, year after year, devoted to displaying for us all - thanks Ray, and thanks to Ray's family, too.

What a way to finish life, still at the top of your game
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Old 9th Dec 2005, 00:40
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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Farewell Ray Hanna

..a legend..happy flying Sir..you will be missed at Wanaka next year!!
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Old 9th Dec 2005, 02:26
  #124 (permalink)  

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Bugger! First met him in the seventies at Valley and saw him fly a stunning display in a Mk.9 Spit at Duxford in July this year(the best solo aeros I have ever witnessed). He'll be shooting lines with Mark.
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Old 9th Dec 2005, 07:01
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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R.I.P. Ray Hanna.
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Old 9th Dec 2005, 08:59
  #126 (permalink)  
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Ray had been invited to a small get-together for current and ex team and friends last night, so it was an evening tinged with sadness.

I never had the privilege of being lead by Ray - he was 'before my time', but without any disrespect to the excellent leaders who followed him, it is right to say that the team would not be what it is today without the leadership, persistence and effort he put into it in his time. Much of the team 'language' and tradition came from him.

I did manage two 'back-seat' rides under his leadership, and the 'eclat' as the team crest has it was totally evident. The same skills and personal styles which I have always likened to those of a master painter or musician - you could tell instantly when you saw a Spit, Mustang or whatever, whether or not it was Ray.

I have told this story on a previous thread about him, but in the 70's I was standing next to an aviation insurance broker involved with the Spit while Ray did a 'private' display in it at Kemble. We all knew most of the dips and hollows around Kemble, but when Ray completely disappeared - prop disc and all - at the bottom of a loop, I turned to David and said "Well, does that give you any anxious moments" to which he replied "Not if it is Ray".

Nuff said.
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Old 9th Dec 2005, 19:38
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Others Say Goodbye

Another condolence thread, mainly from the worldwide warbird enthusiast community, can be viewed here:


htpp://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=55107


Very moving.
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 02:25
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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Obituary

Obituary from The Times
10 December 2005
Squadron Leader Ray Hanna
Leader of the Red Arrows whose skill and vision established it as the world's premier display team

Squadron Leader Ray Hanna, who established the Red Arrows as the world’s premier formation aerobatics team, was universally acknowledged as display pilot nonpareil for more than 40 years. It was no mean feat to remain at the peak of a young man’s pursuit while still display flying at the age of 77.

An outstanding fighter pilot with noted aerobatics talent and considerable experience in squadron formation teams, Hanna was an obvious choice when an official RAF aerobatics display team was formed in 1965. Within a year, Hanna was its leader.

His leadership brought a style and panache into displays which took the Red Arrows to new heights of excellence which earned worldwide acclaim. He created the first nine-ship precision formation team, and his “Diamond 9” remains the team’s signature formation.

Until that point the highlights of formation aerobatics displays, here and abroad, had been achieved at the expense of intervals of empty sky while the team repositioned. Hanna’s philosophy was that each manoeuvre should flow seamlessly into the next. As he told his team: “If the crowd have time to lick their ice-creams, we aren’t doing our job properly!”

The Red Arrows immediately became a star attraction across the world. Today’s displays still conform to the template Hanna developed, and subsequent leaders freely admit that the premier position the team still holds is largely due to the solid foundation he laid in the 1960s.

His radio instructions during thrilling displays were the quintessence of quiet authority. A pilot who flew under Hanna in those early days, and led the team himself a decade later, recalled: “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.”

There was the occasional brush with higher authority who felt some manoeuvres were a little too punchy, but Hanna usually persuaded the air marshals that they were carefully designed to look exciting but were actually quite safe.

Hanna served a record four years as Red Leader. In recognition of his exceptional leadership of what quickly became the public face of the RAF, he was awarded a Bar to the Air Force Cross he had received seven years earlier for outstanding airmanship as a fighter pilot.


Raynham George Hanna was born at Takapuna, New Zealand, on the 28th August 1928. He learned to fly Tiger Moths after leaving Auckland Grammar School and, in 1949, worked his passage on a steamer to England in the hope of joining the RAF.

Earning his Wings before piston-engine fighters were superseded, he flew such types as the Tempest, Sea Fury and Beaufighter. He went on to fly virtually all the early British jet fighters, including the Meteor in the fighter-reconnaissance role from RAF Gütersloh in Germany, one of the most demanding for a single-seat pilot. He subsequently described it as: “Four years never above 100 feet.”

After leaving the Red Arrows in 1969, he was posted to a ground job. For a man born to fly, a desk job was unbearable, and he resigned.


In 1971 he began a new career in civil aviation. After seven years as a captain with Cathay Pacific, he became chief pilot of a diplomatic organisation with worldwide operations, remaining until retirement.

For three more decades, he continued to contribute his skills to the civilian airshow world. In the 1970s, he was invited to display MH434, the famous Mk IX Spitfire, which he later acquired.

In 1981 Hanna’s fighter pilot son Mark left the RAF to join him in founding the Old Flying Machine Company, restoring and operating Second World War combat aircraft at Duxford. Their performances on the international display circuit led to 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 that their services be engaged for his film Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Father and son enjoyed a mutual respect and pride. Mark’s tragic death in 1999, in a flying accident which Hanna witnessed, was a devastating blow. The 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.

Hanna’s ability to fly war machines exceptionally low with safety and precision invariably evoked rapturous applause during airshows. 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 Hanna in his Spitfire performed the most graceful aerial ballet.


A famously approachable man of great modesty, Hanna was unfailingly helpful to less experienced pilots. An inspiration to others, he remained totally unaffected by the immense esteem in which he was held.

He is survived by his wife Eunice, whom he married in 1957, and their daughter Sarah.



Squadron Leader Ray Hanna, AFC and Bar, fighter and display pilot, was born on August 28, 1928. He died on December 1, 2005, aged 77.
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 05:10
  #129 (permalink)  

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The only thing sadder than this news is the thought of Ray at 80 and perhaps unable to fly anymore...perhaps his timing, as always, was inpeccable...life doesn't have to be long it just has to be lived....his was long and certainly lived.

I talked to him once for 10-15 minutes at Duxford last year on my first visit there...what a nice chap...never saw him fly in the flesh and find that regretable.

That clip of him scaring the rap out of the reporter is saved to my hard drive and is, without doubt, the best few minutes of flying footage ever filmed....that and the bridge sequence I have on my DVD copies of 'Piece of Cake'.

RIP sir....and congrats on a life well lived.

Chuck.
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 12:12
  #130 (permalink)  
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The Times obituary to Ray today shows almost a whole page, with pictures. It is most impressive if you fancy getting a copy.
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 14:14
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Unfortunately I never met Ray Hanna, but I did have the utmost respect and admiration for him, and Mark.

I was saddened to hear of Marks death and too am saddened to hear of Ray's. I almost wrote to him when I was little to ask about flying and I regret not doing so.

I wish his family all the best and am glad I got to see Ray display and hear about him, even though I never managed to speak to him.
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 14:15
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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I have just had a look at the actual Obituary in the Times.
It makes an excellent memento for those who would like to keep something to remember him by.

The actual article is much more impressive than the internet version.
They have devoted nearly a whole page to Ray, complete with photos, including one of the Red Arrows in their Gnat days.

I think t is a very well-written obituary which gives a real feel for Ray and his unique skills and achievements, as well as giving an insight to what a great character and likeable person he must have been.

(For anyone who wants to get a copy, if your local newsagent has sold out, the supermarkets always buy a large supply of papers and are bound to have some left).




Apparently it was written by PPRuNe's own Flying Lawyer, so all credit to him for a really superb tribute to Ray, by someone who knew him well.

Last edited by Anne Tenner; 10th Dec 2005 at 14:43.
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 17:53
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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My formative years were spent watching people like Ray Hanna and Raymond Baxter on the television and they and others like them undoubtedly fueled my passion for aviation.

Condolencies to Ray's family.

I never met him,however I know there are thousands of people like me who thought he was brilliant and the ultimate professional.

Cheers Ray...
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 18:34
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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A sad loss to aviation but I will remember him as one of the best.
My 3 year old daughter will not let a day pass without seeing the low pass video over Alain!,she will never see him fly in the flesh but I'm sure she is just as impressed as Iwas from a young age.
RIP Ray.
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 19:04
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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I only had the great pleasure of meeting Ray Hanna briefly once in New Zealand, but have watched his displays both in NZ and here in the UK on many occasions with enormous admiration.
Thank you Ray.
RIP
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Old 10th Dec 2005, 20:35
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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I guess I am at 'that age' where, from time to time, someone I have admired in my youth passes away.

I was always thrilled as a kid to see Ray display the Spitfire at various airshows, but Biggin Hill and laterly Duxford seem to be the places where I saw him fly most; today I am so very sad to hear this news.

May his family rest assured that he was an inspiration to many and may Ray rest in peace.
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Old 11th Dec 2005, 17:13
  #137 (permalink)  
BRL
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This is the obituary from the Times.

The Times
10 December 2005
quote:

Squadron Leader Ray Hanna
Leader of the Red Arrows whose skill and vision established it as the world's premier display team



Squadron Leader Ray Hanna, who established the Red Arrows as the world’s premier formation aerobatics team, was universally acknowledged as display pilot nonpareil for more than 40 years. It was no mean feat to remain at the peak of a young man’s pursuit while still display flying at the age of 77.

An outstanding fighter pilot with noted aerobatics talent and considerable experience in squadron formation teams, Hanna was an obvious choice when an official RAF aerobatics display team was formed in 1965. Within a year, Hanna was its leader.

His leadership brought a style and panache into displays which took the Red Arrows to new heights of excellence which earned worldwide acclaim. He created the first nine-ship precision formation team, and his “Diamond 9” remains the team’s signature formation.

Until that point the highlights of formation aerobatics displays, here and abroad, had been achieved at the expense of intervals of empty sky while the team repositioned. Hanna’s philosophy was that each manoeuvre should flow seamlessly into the next. As he told his team: “If the crowd have time to lick their ice-creams, we aren’t doing our job properly!”

The Red Arrows immediately became a star attraction across the world. Today’s displays still conform to the template Hanna developed, and subsequent leaders freely admit that the premier position the team still holds is largely due to the solid foundation he laid in the 1960s.

His radio instructions during thrilling displays were the quintessence of quiet authority. A pilot who flew under Hanna in those early days, and led the team himself a decade later, recalled: “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.”

There was the occasional brush with higher authority who felt some manoeuvres were a little too punchy, but Hanna usually persuaded the air marshals that they were carefully designed to look exciting but were actually quite safe.

Hanna served a record four years as Red Leader. In recognition of his exceptional leadership of what quickly became the public face of the RAF, he was awarded a Bar to the Air Force Cross he had received seven years earlier for outstanding airmanship as a fighter pilot.


Raynham George Hanna was born at Takapuna, New Zealand, on the 28th August 1928. He learned to fly Tiger Moths after leaving Auckland Grammar School and, in 1949, worked his passage on a steamer to England in the hope of joining the RAF.

Earning his Wings before piston-engine fighters were superseded, he flew such types as the Tempest, Sea Fury and Beaufighter. He went on to fly virtually all the early British jet fighters, including the Meteor in the fighter-reconnaissance role from RAF Gütersloh in Germany, one of the most demanding for a single-seat pilot. He subsequently described it as: “Four years never above 100 feet.”

After leaving the Red Arrows in 1969, he was posted to a ground job. For a man born to fly, a desk job was unbearable, and he resigned.


In 1971 he began a new career in civil aviation. After seven years as a captain with Cathay Pacific, he became chief pilot of a diplomatic organisation with worldwide operations, remaining until retirement.

For three more decades, he continued to contribute his skills to the civilian airshow world. In the 1970s, he was invited to display MH434, the famous Mk IX Spitfire, which he later acquired.

In 1981 Hanna’s fighter pilot son Mark left the RAF to join him in founding the Old Flying Machine Company, restoring and operating Second World War combat aircraft at Duxford. Their performances on the international display circuit led to 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 that their services be engaged for his film Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Father and son enjoyed a mutual respect and pride. Mark’s tragic death in 1999, in a flying accident which Hanna witnessed, was a devastating blow. The 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.

Hanna’s ability to fly war machines exceptionally low with safety and precision invariably evoked rapturous applause during airshows. 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 Hanna in his Spitfire performed the most graceful aerial ballet.


A famously approachable man of great modesty, Hanna was unfailingly helpful to less experienced pilots. An inspiration to others, he remained totally unaffected by the immense esteem in which he was held.

He is survived by his wife Eunice, whom he married in 1957, and their daughter Sarah.

Squadron Leader Ray Hanna, AFC and Bar, fighter and display pilot, was born on August 28, 1928. He died on December 1, 2005, aged 77.
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Old 11th Dec 2005, 21:53
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up Top-Chap

I've remembered a display that impressed me (& many many more) at DX from Ray.


After Hoofs tragic incident Ray and Paul went up and gave a tail chase display (Fury & Bearcat I seem to remember) that was such a wonderful tribute to Hoof, it was both inspired and compassionate with it's effect on the saddened crowd,
a hearty applause resounded around DX upon landing as I remember it.

Thank you Ray, we will never forget your humanity and skill.
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Old 11th Dec 2005, 22:19
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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Trust he is with Mark now.
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Old 12th Dec 2005, 08:07
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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Best "BOSS" ever.
Red arrows team 1968
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