Old 16th Mar 2017, 23:54
  #20 (permalink)  

Awesome but Affordable
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Kings Cliffe
Posts: 488
From 1987 to 1998 I was Head of the Section in the, then, General Aviation Department that regulated and inspected the operational aspects if the entire UK civil airshow industry, both the aircraft and the pilots along with the organisations. We inspected three times the number of shows seen today by 'the man from the ministry'. We rarely had more than one person present and he was from the operations side. In the USA every airshow has a team of inspectors from the FAA. One operations, one airworthiness and two from ATC. I well remember one Biggin Hill Air Fair where I attempted to see all the paperwork, 90% of those on the programme could not produce some, or even all, of the required documents and I just had to accept the warranty in CAP403 that all the paperwork was correct otherwise there would have been a very small BHAF that year. The warranty system still exists. Had the show been in the USA those pilots would not have been allowed to fly and that knowledge meant they would make sure they had the required documentation. For ex-military aircraft on CAA administered Permits to Fly the provisions of CAP632 apply and record keeping is an essential part of that.
Can the UK CAA afford the level of inspection normal in the USA..?? I doubt it ever could do except at a cost that would virtually eliminate any but the very biggest UK airshows. Is that acceptable.... not for me or the countless thousands who attend UK airshows, large and small.
There has to be a much greater sense of proportion than at present in the CAA and the realisation that airshows are part of a long tradition of outdoor entertainment and spectacle enjoyed for over a century with an excellent safety record, not perfect but, in my opinion, acceptable. My heart still goes our to those bereaved at Shoreham but the weekly road kill of death and injury are just accepted, though the individual tragedy is the same.
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