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Hawker Hunter down at Shoreham

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Hawker Hunter down at Shoreham

Old 23rd Aug 2015, 17:23
  #141 (permalink)  
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Sea front?

This was a tragic and so far inexplicable event. Unfortunately I was present at the 2007 Hurricane crash which occurred very close by.

For those suggesting the relocation of an extremely well-attended and well-organised annual RAAFA fund-raiser, I'd like an explanation of how it could possibly be held at the beach. I've watched the airshow at Eastbourne from the cliffs but it's an entirely different and far more limited event without static displays etc.

It's likely that useful lessons will be learned, as with any accident. However it would be a great loss if this event was curtailed or totally neutered in consequence. Let's recall that a significant component of the show is that it commemorates the events that took place in these same skies in August/September 1940, without which Britain would almost certainly be a very different place. As a pervasive amnesia and gradual dilution of public recollection overtakes us, this is something that must be preserved.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 17:33
  #142 (permalink)  

Sims Fly Virtually
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"Only way out"

Only just visited here, so maybe someone has already corrected this, but there is also an exit to the coast road (A259?) through a low bridge under the railway at the opposite (South-West) corner of the airfield.

The Radio Amateurs Emergency Network (who were asisting RAFA and the organisers, as they were 7 years ago when the Hurricane crashed on the South Downs just North of the airfield) were asked again by the police to help close exits.

The concern at that time, and probably again yesterday, was traffic flooding out would add to congestion and enable "punters" to add to the jams that would hamper the Blue Light Services reaching the scene - Fortunately the nearest fire department are very close to the A27 Bypass at the next Eastward junction.

(ExSim - born and raised in the area)
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 17:42
  #143 (permalink)  
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C4 news is quoting the police as saying there's still a lot of fuel in the aircraft.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 17:59
  #144 (permalink)  
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Even speaking as a pilot and huge fan of air displays, the risks are clearly not "infinitesimal". Whether we like it or not this tragedy will prompt a major safety review. Specifically, present rules place much reliance on avoiding the "crowd line"; this crash shows a wider view is needed.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 18:20
  #145 (permalink)  
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Good points Nick.
Looking through the AICs for this year's airshows, the top of the display airspace seems to be generally around 5500' QNH.
When I did my PPL course, that was generally accepted to be sufficient for aerobatics in a Cessna Aerobat.
When we did the shows at EGCD, I'm sure any fast-jets were given something like FL80-.
The Red Arrows airspace at EGXP, (R313), is SFC-9500'.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 18:35
  #146 (permalink)  
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Whilst writing, I would appreciate being able to express my admiration of the people retrieving bodies from the accident site.

That is extraordinarily grim work.

Picture of flap deployment below:

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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 18:45
  #147 (permalink)  
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Re comment by ExSimGuy, a totally unrelated motorcycle accident to the south of the airfield closed the A259 and prevented exit (for low vehicles) via the very shallow railway bridge mentioned. This effectively led to the crowd being locked into the field for the best part of 5 hours, until a route was opened across the runway and out along a narrow track to join the A27 well to the west.

Even though the event provided loos, plenty of food and alternative entertainment to occupy the crowd during the wait, I wish to pay tribute to the patience and understanding shown by all present. It was a difficult and traumatic time (especially for those with children) and I saw nothing but calm and tolerance under the circumstances.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 18:51
  #148 (permalink)  
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When we as a council insured the Lowestoft Air Show the premium was 25,000. I recall saying at the time that a premium of that size, although very small in relation to the potential claims nevertheless suggested that a degree of risk did exist. This incident certainly suggests that I was correct in that.

If that is a typical premium then I can only assume that the insurers are going to be extremely out of pocket on this and that the risk was very significantly greater than their actuaries calculated.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 19:22
  #149 (permalink)  
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I've read the various thoughts about the location of the manoeuvre: I've seen the video of the manoeuvre: I've read the thoughts about such manoeuvres in such a vintage a/c. I've been a pax in a Hunter Display and flew Pu/s afterwards. I'm not an ex-military pilot. My first thoughts were that the g-pull up seemed very relaxed. My 2nd thoughts were that it started from a VERY low height. Combine the two and it might always have been a struggle to complete the recovery successfully. It would have been late in the downward vertical that the 'oops' moment might have become apparent.
It's been a while sine my airshow days, bit what is the minimum start height for such a display? In my looping days, and there are still some in less powered a/c, the idea would be to bottom out at the same height as entry, or higher; depending on height used to accelerate. This was a vertical manoeuvre entered from level flight, at a very low height. From the more experienced display pilots; what height would have been your plan to bottom out from the manoeuvre? The same as entry or higher? Spectacular if the same, but surely the initial pull would have been harder. Surely better to pull hard and relax than the other way round.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 20:21
  #150 (permalink)  
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Nick H,

This (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvHp...ature=youtu.be) seems to be the most common view.

The one linked to by ex Sim Guy is even more interesting.

Shoreham air crash: Man films Hunter hitting A27 road - BBC News

I'm trying to work out when he rolls through 90 (very low?) and what happens at the top - in one video it looks as though he tries to pull through 'Cuban-style', and in the other as though he stall turns back round. That can't be right, surely?
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 20:27
  #151 (permalink)  
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Jackonicko, the first link you posted is to the same video as the one I posted. If you play it at 0.25 speed on a big display you can see the roll very clearly.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 20:34
  #152 (permalink)  
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A lot of people have been calling this manoeuvre a 'Loop', but from the videos, it seems to start off as a loop, but then has a 180deg roll on the 'up portion', before going into the inverted.
Maybe some aerobatic pilots could give this a name, could it be part of a 'clover-leaf'?
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 20:46
  #153 (permalink)  

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Very experienced pilot, but how many hours on a Hunter or similar types.
Do not suppose he does much aerobatics in his day job.
He has been flying the Hunter for some years, flys the Jet Provost, flies and displays his own RV8. Was an Air Force QFI and flew the Harrier. He has a vast amount of display experience.

His experience and ability is obvious to anybody who has flown with him in any of those aircraft and also in his commercial role. He is also a modest and thoroughly decent individual.

Speculation about the cause of the accident is as pointless as it is distressing for anybody affected by this dreadful accident.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 20:46
  #154 (permalink)  
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Shoreham air crash: Man films Hunter hitting A27 road - BBC News
In the video clip it looks very much as if his final moments look more like a high speed stall than a fly into the ground.

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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 21:00
  #155 (permalink)  
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Sadly I think there are a number of factors to consider some have already been mentioned:

(a) The BBMF standards seem very sensible, these aircraft do not need to demonstrated to their limits, and note their currency requirements.

(b) The press seem to say the pilot was an ex harrier pilot BA captain, fine, but not in regular fast jet flying.

(c) The defendant of display pilot (PPL with 500 hours on a JP 3 (Newcastle)) claimed on media that AH must have been done to anything other than human error. Oh yes, he is apparently checked as display pilot on the Hunter T7?

(d) Previous fatality Hurricane, at Shoreham, PPL, Class two med, how can these people get approvals
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 21:00
  #156 (permalink)  
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Quote from phiggsbroadband:
"A lot of people have been calling this manoeuvre a 'Loop', but from the videos, it seems to start off as a loop, but then has a 180deg roll on the 'up portion', before going into the inverted.
Maybe some aerobatic pilots could give this a name, could it be part of a 'clover-leaf'?"

I'm also struggling to get my head around it, but this post on the Military thread suggests it was a "quarter clover":

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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 21:06
  #157 (permalink)  
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Shoreham air crash: Man films Hunter hitting A27 road - BBC News
In the video clip it looks very much as if his final moments look more like a high speed stall than a fly into the ground.


I've been thinking the same thing since seeing that clip.

I don't know enough about the stall characteristics of swept wing aircraft but the tail entering ground effect above the trees would give a really unwelcome nose down?

edited: thank Radix for the "high speed stall" reference.

All hopefully needless speculation as the AAIB should be able to deduce much from a chat with a hopefully recovering pilot.

Thoughts are with him living with the accident.

I'm sure the tombstone imperative will take effect and we will see more careful regulation of heights and flight lines in future, which while no real comfort to loved ones will at least be some positive.

Last edited by charliemouse; 23rd Aug 2015 at 21:14. Reason: Another poster added something relevant
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 21:18
  #158 (permalink)  
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To Funfly; Agreed ........... clearly a hi-speed stall under high g-loading causing the aircraft trajectory to suddenly flatten out due to loss of wing lift.
What a tragedy.
But can anybody tell me why the Hunter was carrying drop-tanks? these are intended for extended duration sorties, not air display maneuvers!
Besides adding weight and drag, they obviously affect maneuverability to some degree.

Last edited by exulas; 23rd Aug 2015 at 21:23. Reason: Reference prior comment.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 21:27
  #159 (permalink)  
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Tanks - to get to the air show and around the country. But flap under high G is unusual.
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Old 23rd Aug 2015, 21:47
  #160 (permalink)  
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I agree the video in post 155 shows a classic high-G, high-speed wing stall (wing drop, and the whole aircraft sinks behind the tree).

But by that moment, the aircraft was almost certainly going to hit the ground, regardless. The "accident" (whatever it was), that put the aircraft in a position where it must hit the ground one way or another, began much earlier in the maneuver. The stall only changed the impact point by a few yards.

The stall may - emphasize "may" - even have been the result of a well-intentioned pull on the controls to try and clear the people-filled highway, and crash in open ground beyond. But physics and aerodynamics are unforgiving...
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