Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

March 10, 2016

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Shoreham air show crash: Report shows risk assessment failures

Organisers of the Shoreham air show, where a jet crashed in 2015 killing 11 people, failed to carry out a proper risk assessment and were unaware of the pilot’s display plans, a report has concluded.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch’s (AAIB) report into the incident said that while the flying display director at Shoreham was well qualified, but he was not fully aware of the sequence of display manoeuvres the pilot of the jet was planning to carry out.

He was not, therefore, able to identify where they would take place, or which groups of people would be put at risk, the BBC reported.

Andy Hill, the pilot of the jet, survived the crash after the1959 Hawker Hunter jet he was flying plummeted on to the A27, in August last year.

The vintage jet fell during a rolling manoeuvre, destroying a number of vehicles and bursting into flames.

Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent said that this report doesn’t tell you why the Shoreham jet crashed, as that final report won’t be out for some weeks yet.

But it will have big implications for air shows up and down the country. It’ll mean tougher rules, more red tape, higher costs, better safety and it could also spell the end for dozens of the smaller shows, he added.

The report does say that that in a previous display, in 2014, the same aircraft had flown over residential areas several times, as well as performing a steep turn over the town centre of Lancing.

This was despite its flying permit specifically stating that it should not be flown over congested areas and the show’s organisers operating under similar constraints. However, the pilot was not told to stop his display.

The report also shows that The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) , which is responsible for allowing air shows to go ahead and monitoring their safety, only attended 18 of the 254 displays it authorised. In the United States, the regulator attends every show.

The report further issues a series of recommendations which are designed to make air shows safer in future. The 14 recommendations involve the way shows are organised and regulated, and how pilots are qualified to take part in them.

Responding to the latest report a CAA spokesperson said: “We will now review the AAIB’s bulletin in detail and consider all of its recommendations carefully. We will also factor the AAIB’s findings into our ongoing review of air display safety, which we expect to complete in the coming weeks.”


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6 years ago

I don’t understand why Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent felt the need to add “it will have big implications for air shows up and down the country. It’ll mean tougher rules, more red tape, higher costs, better safety and it could also spell the end for dozens of the smaller shows”. This sounds like scare mongering to me. Surely if the risk assessment was not carried out properly it identifies people need to be trained how to carry out risk assessments properly and IMPLEMENT them. Not just treat risk assessment as a paperwork exercise as is usually the case in… Read more »

Tom Gbonda
Tom Gbonda
6 years ago

The report for the Shoreham air show crash has revealed the importance of proper risk assessment. It shows the importance of identifying those who may be affected what may be affected from the potential hazard identified. Thus, it is fitting that for future displays, the risk to people, places and environment should be thoroughly assessed.

6 years ago

Working around Aircraft for more than 20 odd years and on the Airfields that aircraft are flown from, provides one with a board base of visual experience on how an aircraft acts and preforms, even though a Pilot is in control… But many times weather/ the ambient conditions too, play their part. I too have been involved in aircraft crash recovery on many occasions and not all Pilots have survived. The point I’m exploring is that did the ‘Risk Assessment’ or not the ‘flight plan’ include matters of air conditions, what if it was a very hot day, would preforming… Read more »

Greasy Bacon
Greasy Bacon
5 years ago
Reply to  Pete

The plane was in the wrong place, at the wrong height and with external fuel tanks. Seeing just one of these acts of stupidity should have resulted in a stop call unless the FDD was negligent.

6 years ago

Did the BBC reporter really call for “More Red Tape” . I thought the report said the risk assessment did not meet the standard required in current legislation. For the past 5 years the Government has been calling such essential safety controls “un-necessary restrictions and red tape”, Here we see tragic proof of why that is nothing but a deliberate term to undermine safety.