|Born||28 August 1928
|Died||1 December 2005
|Service/branch||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1949–1971|
|Commands held||The Red Arrows|
Squadron Leader Raynham George Hanna AFC (with bar) (28 August 1928 – 1 December 2005) was a New Zealand born pilot in the RAF and a number of civilian companies. During his time in the RAF he was a founding member of the Red Arrows. He also founded the Old Flying Machine Company and regularly flew aircraft from his vintage warbird collection at airshows around the world.
Hanna learned to fly in New Zealand in 1947/1948 before joining the RAF in 1949. During his initial training he flew types such as the Percival Prentice, North American Harvard and Gloster Meteor. He went on to fly types including the Hawker Tempest, Hawker Sea Fury and Bristol Beaufighter.
His first operational posting was to No. 79 Squadron RAF flying the Meteor FR.9 as part of the NATO Second Allied Tactical Air Force. Hanna flew a number of early British jet aircraft from this period including the de Havilland Vampire, de Havilland Venom, Supermarine Attacker, Hawker Sea Hawk, Supermarine Swift and Gloster Javelin. Early on in his career, Hanna had the opportunity to become involved with aerial display teams, first as the leader of a four-ship Hunter display team in 1957, then in 1963–1964 as a member of a Meteor display team operated by the College of Air Warfare.
In 1965 Hanna became a member of the Red Arrows display team as 'Red 3'. In 1966 he became the team leader, 'Red 1', and held this post for a record four years. During this time Hanna oversaw the enlargement of the team to nine Folland Gnat T.Mk1 aircraft, making possible the inclusion of the diamond-nine formation which is a staple feature of the Red Arrows' display routine to this day. During this period the Red Arrows became a permanent squadron as part of the Central Flying School. Hanna left the RAF in 1971.
Post-RAF flying career
After he left the RAF, Hanna flew the Boeing 707 for Lloyd International and then spent seven years with Cathay Pacific flying Boeing 707s and Lockheed Tristars. He then headed a company operating private Boeing 707s. It was during this time that Hanna was asked by the Chairman of Cathay Pacific, Sir Adrian Swire, to display Swire's privately owned Spitfire LFIXb, MH434. This was the beginning of a long association between Hanna and this particular aircraft that would last until Hanna's death. In 1981, along with his son Mark, Hanna established the Old Flying Machine Company (OFMC), based at Duxford, UK to operate and display a number of warbird aircraft. In 1983 the OFMC bought MH434 at auction.
The aircraft and pilots of the OFMC featured in a number of films and television appearances including, Piece of Cake, Empire of the Sun, Memphis Belle, Saving Private Ryan and Tomorrow Never Dies. Ray Hanna flew his Spitfire under the bridge at Winston, near Barnard Castle, for a scene in the 1988 TV series Piece of Cake.
Hanna performed for the final time in October 2005 at the annual Duxford Autumn Airshow. He died in Switzerland of natural causes on December 1, 2005. He was buried at St Mary's Church, Parham in Suffolk on December 15, 2005.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (February 2012)|
- Dunnell, Ben (February 2006). "Ray Hanna 1928-2005". Aircraft Illustrated (Ian Allan Publishing) (February): 28.
- "Eulogy at Thanksgiving Service for Squadron Leader Ray Hanna AFC*". His Honour Judge Tudor Owen FRAeS. 2006-03-20.
- "Tributes to Sqn Ldr Ray Hanna AFC*". Professional Pilots website. 2005-12-20.
- "Obituary: Squadron Leader Ray Hanna AFC*". The Times. 2005-12-10. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
- "Obituary: Squadron Leader Ray Hanna". The Telegraph. 2005-12-05. Retrieved 2006-12-04.