Most fighter aircraft lost in one peacetime sortie
Royal Air Force
United Kingdom ()
The British Royal Air Force lost six Hawker Hunter combat aircraft from a flight of eight planes on 8 February 1956. The eight aircraft took off from the airbase at West Raynham, UK, to undertake air combat training at 45,000 ft, but, owing to deteriorating weather at base, were diverted to RAF Marham. A sudden deterioration in the visibility and cloud base at Marham, probably because of a layer of stratus cloud that had come in from the North Sea unexpectedly, precluded safe visual approaches and there was not enough time to effect spaced radar approaches for so many aircraft. As a result, four pilots ejected when they ran out of fuel, one crash landed and survived, while another crashed short of the runway and was killed. Two aircraft landed successfully.