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Hunter crash at Shoreham

I think the root issue is culture and the one in the classic jet / display / display regulator scene in the UK was clearly not fit for purpose, I’m not sure even now some elements ‘get it’ when you see some of the press releases and statements.

In contrast, even though we can all pick odd contrasting examples which prove the exception, on the whole I think GA is culturally in the right place – its a safe foundation to build the rest on. How you prove that I’m not sure.

Now retired from forums best wishes

what_next wrote:

452 pages!

That is insane. In the “normal” world, I would simply say they have failed their job – completely. Go home and do it over again. This kind of craziness is by itself a serious hazard to GA. It is a result of over theorizing things that are literally self explanatory in practical terms. The pilot failed to do a proper barrel roll, or whatever he actually tried to do. The result of that error was very unfortunate for unrelated people.

There was a Gripen pilot that did something similar a couple of months back. He was a professional Thai air force pilot, and as such there should be little doubt that he both highly current and highly competent. These things do happen.

It seems to me there is a notion (on this board and elsewhere) that GA is a safe activity. That flying somehow has evolved by itself into a perfectly safe thing, and therefore GA should be an “acceptable” way of whatever GA is used for. This is very far from the truth. Airlines are safe, GA is about as safe as MC. Loss of control in flight, controlled flight into terrain count for well above 50% of all GA accidents. Doing low level airshows, the risk is very high for that category of accident, and some of those accidents will be more freaky than others and involve unrelated bystanders.

I understand the fact that those who got killed, were not even at the airshow. But I mean, living is a dangerous activity. you may even die from it…



ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

No, I disagree completely.

The ‘easy’ bit of all this is that the pilot failed to complete the manoeuvre. However, there are many far reaching lessons to be learnt. To paraphrase some key elements:

Poor maintenance, airworthiness and regulatory oversight.
Poor pilot qualification, standardisation and currency oversight.
Haphazard and ineffective safety management.
Ingrained, cultural indifference to the risks.
Lack of effective legal framework.
Cronyism.

With my safety manager’s hat on, this should have been a predictable event – fast jets doing low-level aerobatics brings a significant increase in risk. A friend’s son was killed in this accident; he was on a cycle ride. Aviation (to be slightly more precise, GA and the air show fraternity) did not do it’s job properly in protecting non-participants. To say ‘accidents happen, leave it at that’ is, IMHO, bordering somewhere between ignorance and arrogance.

Last Edited by Dave_Phillips at 04 Mar 11:26
Fly safely
Various UK. Operate throughout Europe and Middle East, United Kingdom

LeSving wrote:

I understand the fact that those who got killed, were not even at the airshow. But I mean, living is a dangerous activity. you may even die from it…

Sorry but that remark is crass and insensitive.

EHLE / Lelystad, Netherlands, Netherlands

Dave_Phillips wrote:

Poor maintenance, airworthiness and regulatory oversight.

As I read the report, this was not a factor in that accident. The altimeters showed a difference of up to 100ft. But as he was flying at 185ft instead of his minimum display altitide of 500ft that altimeter error is irrelevant.

Dave_Phillips wrote:

Poor pilot qualification, standardisation and currency oversight.

This of course is one of the key factors here.

Dave_Phillips wrote:

Haphazard and ineffective safety management.

Maybe. But how can you “manage” safety in an airshow? By working out safe trajectories (if those exist at all) for the display flights and setting strict rules that the pilots must observe. All this has been done at Shoreham. But when a pilot does not observe the rules and does not fly along the safest trajectory, all your safety management which looks so nice on paper goes down the drain. Unfortunately I must say that the only effective safety management for low-level aerobatic displays of (vintage and modern) jet fighters is the one adopted by the German authorities: Verboten – finish – aus!

What puzzles me most in this case is that the surviving pilot is still a free man.

EDDS - Stuttgart

what_next wrote:

Maybe. But how can you “manage” safety in an airshow? By working out safe trajectories (if those exist at all) for the display flights and setting strict rules that the pilots must observe. All this has been done at Shoreham.

It wasn’t done at Shoreham. They thought they had done it (for a plethora of reasons indicated in the report) but they had failed to complete a satisfactory risk assessment. It would be very easy to say ‘accidents happen/the pilot screwed-up etc’ and move on. However, this report clearly identifies failures and weaknesses at all levels, including the regulatory framework. It is in everyone’s best interest to address all these issues now rather than wait for another accident (which could be decades away) in order to identify a hazard trend.

Fly safely
Various UK. Operate throughout Europe and Middle East, United Kingdom

Dave_Phillips wrote:

They thought they had done it (for a plethora of reasons indicated in the report) but they had failed to complete a satisfactory risk assessment.

Yes. But the fact remains that if that pilot would have stayed inside the assigned display zone and above the minimum 500ft he would not have crashed where he did.

EDDS - Stuttgart

Dave_Phillips wrote:

To say ‘accidents happen, leave it at that’ is, IMHO, bordering somewhere between ignorance and arrogance.

That’s where we disagree. If you want to travel safe, take an airline or train, and stop whining. If you want “action” and no risk, go see a movie or take a roller coaster. In our modern society we are free to choose the lever of risk that is acceptable to us. You cannot say: I chose private GA, and I want it to be safe. It will never happen, the statistics speak for itself. Pretending and hoping and praying that reality is different is just childish and silly. Also, you cannot protect yourself from the arbitrary freakyness called statistical probability that is built into the universe. But if that probability is one in a billion or less, you have serious mental issues if that bothers you.

Peter_Mundy wrote:

Sorry but that remark is crass and insensitive.

Why do you say so?

Dave_Phillips wrote:

there are many far reaching lessons to be learnt. To paraphrase some key elements:

Maybe, but they are all irrelevant to the accident. The cause of the accident is the pilot screwed up, plain and simple. And that is the issue here. Pilots do screw up from time to time. It is inevitable, we are humans, not machines. The only thing we can do is to minimize the risk by putting at least two of them in the same cockpit and let them fly in a predictable and planned manner from A to B, leaving most of the flying to automated systems and ground control. But that will not make a very cool air show.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

The political fallout out of this accident was monumental. The media of course jumped on it – a fantastically dramatic story – and once they smell blood they won’t let go. The CAA had to throw everything at the report, to show everything possible was being done and no stone was left unturned.

The basics are listed by David Philips above in post #164 but they are themselves complicated. The fact that the pilot was behaving like a cowboy and actually crashed on this occassion (IIRC, he came close on a previous one) was just the last hole in the cheese.

I guess there won’t be easy solutions, all the time the simple finances of operating these ancient jets (not exactly owned by Bill Gates) dictate that pilot currency will always be low, and the business must find it hard to attract pilots who are disciplined. The Red Arrows, the Thunderbirds, etc, have loads of currency and won’t be bending the rules. But you won’t get pilots like that to fly these things.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

LeSving wrote:

Peter_Mundy wrote:

Sorry but that remark is crass and insensitive.

Why do you say so?

Because there are those here who will have known the family of at least one of the victims.

EHLE / Lelystad, Netherlands, Netherlands
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