The funeral of Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham will take place on Thursday 1 December 2011 at 1030hrs in Coventry Cathedral followed by a private family cremation.
Flight Lieutenant Cunningham’s former RAF colleagues and friends are welcome to attend the service at Coventry Cathedral. His family has also kindly extended the invitation to members of the public who wish to pay their respects.
Flight Lieutenant Cunningham joined the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (the Red Arrows) in September 2010 and flew as Red 3 during the 2011 display season. He had begun training to fly as Red 5 for the forthcoming 2012 season.
Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sean moved to the UK in 1986 at the age of nine. Although a profession in football was a possibility, Sean followed his dream to become a fast jet pilot in the Royal Air Force. He attended Ernesford Grange School in Coventry and qualified for his Private Pilot Licence when he was 17. He read Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Nottingham Trent University and completed his Elementary Flying Training as a member of East Midlands University Air Squadron.
He joined the RAF in 2000 and was selected for Fast Jet Training, flying the PC-9 in Perth, Australia and the Hawk at Royal Air Force Valley. On completion of his Advance flying training, Sean was role disposed to fly the Tornado GR4. After completing the Operational Conversion Unit, Sean was posted to 617 ‘The Dambusters’ Squadron at Royal Air Force Lossiemouth. During his three years on the Squadron, Sean completed several operational tours of Iraq as part of Operation TELIC, flying close air support missions for Coalition ground forces. After completing exercises in America, Canada, Romania and France, Sean joined XV (R) Squadron as a Qualified Pilot and Tactics Instructor. Sean continued his instructional role when posted to the Weapon System Officer (WSO) Training Unit at 100 Squadron, Royal Air Force Leeming.
Sean was killed when he was ejected from his Hawk T1 aircraft on the morning of Tuesday 8 November 2011. A full Service Inquiry is investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident.