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Hawker Hunter Crash at Shoreham Airshow

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Hawker Hunter Crash at Shoreham Airshow

Old 15th Sep 2015, 09:48
  #801 (permalink)  
 
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There is a lot of emotion on here, in some regards that is understandable but when people get bent out of shape over the view that what was flown was a 1/4 clover or arguing about items that have been published in an AAIB bulletin it seems a little OTT. Just look in the last few posts - now we are getting all entrenched over AH's DA and yet some elements of that were in the AAIB bulletin. Maybe ultimately no rules were broken, maybe what was flown fits and ticks all the boxes - except its fair to ask why start low with full tanks, on a hot day? Regardless of what is in your DA.

I think a lot forget this is the internet and if you want an argument you will likely find one although in the main, insensitive as it may seem to some, many questions are entire fair.

Wait for the AAIB report, possession of all the facts, access to the facts, being professional and loyal to a fellow fast jet pilot and so it goes.

Well some points.

First of all the AAIB have published some facts. Those and the films that have been widely published allow people to take a view. Is it unreasonable on an internet forum to ask honest questions about what one can see or read? Do people honestly expect (given the scale of those impacted in this) for all this to go away until when? 2017? for an AAIB report? Seriously?

Possession of all the facts, well not withstanding that anyone is ever going to call when you have ALL of the facts. It seems to me that some wish to ignore what is already known and wait for a magic bullet that makes everything else go away. No doubt there could be a huge technical issue lurking behind all of this (in fact oddly when I suggested you might not be able to see the altimeter whilst rolling left someone said "you can't see it straight and level" - as if it was some badge of honor! OK so you can't see the altimeter in a Hunter... seems fairly fundemental to me) , however even then there are still valid points to be discussed from what we do know.

Starting height methodology, time in the display aircraft and what configuration its in, hot weather affects, the figures being flown and the defined start of such figure and the previous routine verse the accident one. None of those questions are a slur on the pilot. None. As has been pointed out their is a very well established structure to this and so AH is not standing alone.

To ignore these points is just head in the sand and I'm not sure how that helps the overall situation. In fact lets be frank the answers to any of those basic points could be obtained fairly easily with some straight talking - which is going to come given the magnitude of the event. My view is that as a group you become more credible later if you engage.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 10:41
  #802 (permalink)  
 
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Pitts

That's all very well, but as we all know, this forum is monitored by the media, and a frenzy can be triggered by the asking of questions in a pejorative manner such as your :

"why start low with full tanks, on a hot day?"

This might seem, to the non aviator, to be an important question.

It suggests some kind of rashness on the part of the pilot just by the fact that the question is asked.



I can do it too.

"Why start with a vertical roll to the left on an east / west runway!?"

"Why was he wearing green rather than white gloves!?"


It could sound to the uninitiated to be relevant, but patently isn't.

Not all questions are equally valid, and the discussion is not helped by irrelevancies.

It isn't "closing ranks".
It is an effort to maintain clarity.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 10:45
  #803 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by S-D
What a daft question.

S-D
At least I wasn't rude.

Genuine question though.

First time I've posted on this thread and still don't feel the need to give my opinion on events and was genuinely wondering who everyone thought benefitted from this discussion.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 10:53
  #804 (permalink)  
 
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Tourist - I know you were just trying to make the point but as you know temp on the day, weight and height are going to be of much greater focus than the colour of ones gloves.

Are you serious about being an irrelevant point, because its absolutely relevant. Perhaps one might also like to reflect that not everything that gets authority is spot on. For example the G-HURR crash.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 10:57
  #805 (permalink)  
 
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I would not rule out a g - loc event. It happened to a red arrow and a blue angel in recent years. AH is obviously a professional aviator in either the airline context or fast jet: he did not intent to have a catastrophic accident and that should be the starting point. However, 11 members of the public were killed therefore there will be an enquiry and there will be conclusions and new rules I suspect. Commiserations and condolences to all involved.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 11:51
  #806 (permalink)  
 
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Pitts,

You still don't get it, do you? I don't know what kind of aviation expert you are because you consistently refuse to offer any credential, but you seem to pop up with the same loaded questions and expert opinion on every accident-related thread in the entire site - helos, fast jets, light aircraft and airliners. And every time people tell you the same thing about trying to draw your own conclusions with only a fraction of the necessary information and every time you trot out the same arguments about safety and it taking too long for the AAIB to complete its investigation. And every time you fail to understand why people are telling you that speculating about the causes of accidents with so little evidence is very likely to lead you to the wrong conclusions. You also seem to ignore what people tell you about carelessly implying some sort of pilot error - or, at least, asking inappropriate questions in a manner that suggests that is where your interest lies.

If your intention is genuinely about improving safety, perhaps people here would be better inclined to discuss if you were to explain how you intend to draw safety lessons, what you intend to do with them and how.

Now my main point. There is a world of difference between discussing technical, physiological and established events and speculating about what errors the pilot made. The word 'Pilot' in the site's title might give you a clue as to the sort of reception the wording of your posts might receive. And it doesn't matter how many times you deploy the same old arguments, you are unlikely to change that, especially as the pilots here have no idea of your professional interest in it or why you think you are qualified to draw an expert opinion. We do get armchair experts, unscrupulous journos (as well as some welcome, open, bona fide ones) and trolls here.

As you have now started your own thread (Differing reactions to accidents - Why?) to whine about the common aircrew reaction, I suggest you actually read and try to understand the replies you get. I suspect you will choose to trot out your same old safety line instead.

By all means discuss details of accidents and take an interest in others' points of view, but what people are saying to you here is stay away from
speculation about fault, blame, error, judgement and competency until there is evidence to indicate that any of those are relevant factors.

I hope that helps you.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 12:00
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Sorry, but in the UK AAIB reports ARE admissible as evidence in court.
The AAIB may be required to attend and to be cross examined on the content of the report.
They will be treated as a expert witness.
Please see
Rogers v Hoyle: legal victory for claimants in UK aviation claims

You will note that the original decision was appealed and the appeal court agreed with the lower High Court finding that AAIB reports were admissible.
This is now legal precedent.

I hope you all now understand why I earlier said that the unfortunate pilot should say nothing whatsoever without legal representation.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 13:20
  #808 (permalink)  
 
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Sorry, but in the UK AAIB reports ARE admissible as evidence in court
The report may be, but the earlier posts referred to the witness statements and testimony gathered in the course of the investigation - not the same thing.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 14:07
  #809 (permalink)  
 
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In my naiivity as a retired Met Man MoD I thought that witness statements and testimony gathered in the course of the investigation would be included, or summarised, in the AAIB report.

Certainly Met. is.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 14:21
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There is rarely, if any, any verbatim comment and all witnesses are disidentified (Witness A, Witness B etc).
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 16:07
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I have taken the aviation aspect out of the thread and rejigged a statement made above, with which I agree. See if it makes sense please.

[I]Mr X is obviously a driver in either HGVs or cars: he did not intend to have a catastrophic accident and that should be the starting point.
However, X members of the public were killed therefore there will be an enquiry and there will be conclusions and possibly new rules.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 16:10
  #812 (permalink)  
 
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That would indeed be true, if we were in possession of all the facts, and it is patently obvious to most of us that we clearly are not.
That would have been my response to S-D.

S-D, I agree that there are definitely lessons to be learned, but we can not say exactly what they are until we know what caused this crash.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 16:36
  #813 (permalink)  
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One thing I don't think has been mentioned was the Hunter display programme that day. Was the plan for a show only at Shoreham or were there further display s planned? Or perhaps a transit post display?

That could explain the fuel load.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 16:48
  #814 (permalink)  
 
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Mach - what part of my post number 803 was so offensive or seen as trolling or assuming anything? I'm not sure why you take questions to be statements of fact. You keep calling me out and I'm happy for you to think I know jack and your reasoned response to all is wait for all the facts, wait for the report.

If that works for you then great but there are some items to be questioned now and actually they could have been in the bulletin that was published but for some reason were not. i.e. the valid question asked in post 815 - which I believe it was to go onto Bournemouth, (note - I didn't say what to do there etc before you jump on that) but that was an understanding.

To say we can't learn anything until a full AAIB report comes out is I think inaccurate, because this forum is more like a bar, clubhouse or crew room. Conversations take place and people know people etc so elements always come out as the AAIB can not tackle all accident events without speaking to others.

Otherwise lets close our eyes and ears and wait until 2017 for a full report.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 18:21
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As expected, you have simply trotted out your same old stuff and completely ignored what I have tried to explain to about why members here have kept on telling you the same things about your post for the last two years at least.
Originally Posted by Pitts
what part of my post number 803 was so offensive or seen as trolling or assuming anything
Nothing. I didn’t say ‘offensive’, no one called you a troll. Read my post properly.

Originally Posted by Pitts
I'm not sure why you take questions to be statements of fact
I don't. I and others have made it perfectly clear that it is the intent of your questions and the relevance you appear to attach to the issues involved. Read my post properly.

Originally Posted by Pitts
there are some items to be questioned now and actually they could have been in the bulletin that was published but for some reason were not
An interim bulletin will only ever discuss facts that have been established so far. They do not speculate on anything else, nor will they list all the aspects of the crash that they are going to investigate. I agree that there are technical, physiological and established events to discuss. Read my post properly.

Originally Posted by Pitts
To say we can't learn anything until a full AAIB report comes out is I think inaccurate
We can. But lots of people have warned you off speculating about error, blame and failings at this stage. Read posts from members replying to you over the past two years properly.

To help you read my points, here is a precis.

- you seem to pop up with the same loaded questions and expert opinion on every accident-related thread in the entire site - helos, fast jets, light aircraft and airliners. And every time people tell you the same thing about trying to draw your own conclusions with only a fraction of the necessary

- you fail to understand why people are telling you that speculating about the causes of accidents with so little evidence is very likely to lead you to the wrong conclusions.

- You also seem to ignore what people tell you about carelessly implying some sort of pilot error - or, at least, asking inappropriate questions in a manner that suggests that is where your interest lies.

- There is a world of difference between discussing technical, physiological and established events and speculating about what errors the pilot made.

- especially as the pilots here have no idea of your professional interest in it or why you think you are qualified to draw an expert opinion

- We do get armchair experts, unscrupulous journos (as well as some welcome, open, bona fide ones) and trolls here.

- what people are saying to you here is stay away from speculation about fault, blame, error, judgement and competency until there is evidence to indicate that any of those are relevant factors.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 08:34
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I have followed this thread with great interest. It is clear that a number of people are ex-Hunter operators, some with display experience, and really know what they are talking about. Also there are contributions from others with a fast jet background with display experience that also know what they’re talking about. Others are not so knowledgeable but PPrune is a democratic forum and people are free to air their views.

Clearly, it is essential to establish exactly what caused this accident and only the board of inquiry will be able to do this, so in a way, all of the input to this thread so far is speculation, some of it very well informed but still speculation. Over a long RAF career I was always taught to wait for the BoI findings but other PPrune contributors may not share my view.

While it is essential to establish the cause of this accident the fundamental point is that it happened at an air show and resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries. The BoI is bound to make recommendations that could affect future air displays and could well have an impact of future events at Shoreham.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 12:28
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Any chance we could calm down please? Its getting tad warm in here

There are questions of course such as :

Why did it happen?
What is the chain of events that led to the impact?
What, if anything, should change for the future?
Are there issues of liability and if so, against whom?

These need to be asked AT SOME POINT and one hope answers will emerge but there are two legal processes underway:

The Inquest and the AAIB investigation.

The forensic site examination has only just finished for example. [Forensic because I understand that such an accident site is a crime scene under UK law until evidence proves a crime NOT to have been committed.]

The A27 road has only just reopened in full, and the local MP has secured a debate in London.


Shoreham A27 fully reopens after air crash


There was a parliamentary debate this week:

Shoreham air crash: MP calls for rule changes

Westminster Hall debates: 15 September 2015 - News from Parliament - UK Parliament

UK Parliament - Westminster Hall Shoreham Air Show Crash [Mr Graham Brady in the Chair]

The transcript is this:

15 Sep 2015 : Column 279WH

Shoreham Air Show Crash

[Mr Graham Brady in the Chair]

3.59 pm

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con): I beg to move,

That this House has considered the Shoreham air show crash and its implications.

On 22 August, a vintage Hawker Hunter jet plane crashed at the Shoreham air show in my constituency. Eleven men tragically lost their lives, and many stories of the personal tragedies that accompanied that loss touched a chord across the nation. It represented the largest civilian loss of life in the United Kingdom since 7/7, and the first fatalities on the ground at any UK air show since 1952.

Those statistics will give little comfort to the victims’ families, and I am sure that I echo the feelings of the whole House when I say that our thoughts and prayers go out to them, and that the first priority remains to give them the support that they will need in these difficult times. Neither should we forget the pilot, who continues to recover from his horrific injuries. I am grateful to hon. Members who have passed on their good wishes and condolences to the families through me.

I am delighted to see the Minister here today to respond to this debate, which is born out of such tragedy. The accident is, quite properly, the subject of investigation by the air accidents investigation branch, and it is certainly not my intention to pre-empt the findings of those investigations. My constituents and others have been at pains not to rush to judgment about exactly what went wrong, or the implications for Shoreham air show—and, indeed, all the other air shows that draw large crowds across the country—until we know the facts of the case. There are some 300 civil flying displays in the country every year, which attract in excess of 2 million spectators. That does not include military displays. The results of the investigation will affect an awful lot of events and displays around the country.

I want to pay tribute to the emergency services, particularly to the first responders who had to deal with the most harrowing scenes, and to those involved in the investigation and clean-up operation in the aftermath of the accident. I want to highlight the fantastic way in which the local community rallied around in light of the tragedy. I want to touch on the implications for dealing with such major incidents in the future, and I want to raise various safety questions that will need to be answered in the fullness of time.

It is worth pointing out that this was an accident—a fortunately rare, but most tragic, accident. The Shoreham air show has been run by the Royal Air Forces Association for the past 26 years, raising more than £2 million for its excellent charity. It is appropriate to mention that today as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the battle of Britain, where many of the planes that we see and their forebears played a vital role. Today, if the weather has improved, some 40 Spitfires and Hurricanes will be flying over the south of England to mark that anniversary, based at the Goodwood aerodrome near my constituency.

15 Sep 2015 : Column 280WH

The Shoreham air show has been run for 26 years with an excellent record, and the honorary organiser, Derek Harber from RAFA, has put a huge amount of effort and dedication into the show with his team. I know from meeting RAFA representatives that the safety of the performers, the safety of the spectators and the safety of the local community are always paramount considerations when organising the show, as I am sure they are for all other similar events. The air show is part of the local scene and part of the Shoreham calendar. This year, when the tragic accident happened, more than 20,000 people had come to see the displays. There were 50 planes, including the Vulcan in its farewell and the RAF Falcons parachute display team. The air show has won awards for the best family event in Sussex and the best family air show in the United Kingdom. People come for a fun, thrilling day out. It is also worth pointing out that the air show is held at Britain’s oldest commercial airport in Shoreham, which has had planes flying into and out of it since 1911. A lot of thought and planning goes into the event.

Sir Gerald Howarth (Aldershot) (Con): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way, and I am sorry that I missed his initial observations. He referred to the importance of flying displays, the tradition at Shoreham and the fact that flying displays are hugely popular across the country. They are the second most popular outdoor spectator activity. In my capacity as the president of the British Air Display Association, I can assure him that every air show is policed by a flying control committee and a display director. A huge amount of effort goes into ensuring that such displays are very carefully managed for the protection and enjoyment of the public.

Tim Loughton: My hon. Friend makes a very good point. I am grateful to him for the helpful advice that he gave me in the aftermath of the accident, as somebody who knows great deal more about such matters than I do. Air shows are important events, and safety is paramount. The people who oversaw the Shoreham air show were of the highest calibre, integrity and experience. This is not some amateur operation; it is run in a hugely professional way, and quite rightly so. It was a tragic and, as I say, fortunately rare accident, but clearly changes will need to be made to the way in which this and other air shows are run in the future if they are to continue.

The Civil Aviation Authority was right swiftly to take a precautionary approach and to suspend performances by vintage jets until we know more from the investigations. That has affected many air shows already, and it is important to establish exactly what is likely to happen, with some timescales, as soon as possible, because organisers want to start the preparations for next year’s air shows. It is very important for a whole host of reasons that we find out what went wrong and what needs to be changed in the future.

Sir Gerald Howarth: My hon. Friend said that displays by vintage jets have been suspended. In fact, it is the high-energy manoeuvres that have been suspended, not the aircraft. The Vulcan continues to perform until 18 October.

Tim Loughton: My hon. Friend expertly corrects me with that detail, for which I am grateful.

15 Sep 2015 : Column 281WH

If a crumb of comfort has come out of this horrible tragedy, it is the absolutely incredible performance by the emergency services and the first responders. Police officers from the whole of Sussex and firefighters from west Sussex, east Sussex, Hampshire and further afield helped out on the day and in the immediate aftermath. The south-east coast ambulance service was on the scene very swiftly, and Worthing hospital took on casualties. Organisations such as the Red Cross, and many volunteers, performed incredibly.

The scene was one of devastation: there were badly damaged bodies and incinerated cars. Fortunately, the impact zone was relatively well contained. I drove along the A27 one minute before the accident, and I was completely oblivious to what had happened behind me until I got home and saw the news. When I drove by, there were 60 or 70 spectators on the verge of the A27, watching the air show from outside the confines of the airport, and traffic was tailing back about 200 yards along the road waiting to get into the air show. Fortunately, I gather, the traffic lights had just cleared green, otherwise there could have been three lanes of stationary traffic at the plane’s point of impact. There were assorted stewards and other volunteers in the area.

Given all that, it is amazing that only 11 people lost their lives. It could have been much, much worse. Just a few hundred yards away there was a big factory, Ricardo, and there were 20,000 spectators enjoying the air display. I am sure that the reactions of the first responders went a long way to avoiding further suffering and injury. The way in which they contained the situation and dealt with 20,000 people in a confined space was absolutely extraordinary. We cannot underestimate the contribution that the emergency services made.

I visited the scene on the following Monday in the aftermath of the crash with the chief constable and police commissioner, and I saw the painstaking work of the investigators. They made the whole area into a grid and carried out a fingertip search for any evidence—and of course, I fear, the remains of the victims—which is why it took some time to establish that the total number of victims was 11. The plane was lifted on the day I visited, and fortunately there were no further casualties underneath it. More than 200 professionals were on site, in appalling weather conditions. The coroner’s office and all her professionals did an outstanding job. It is difficult to fault what went on. A 3D film of the site was taken so that the investigators have a full record of what they have to look at.

The operation was really impressive. All the agencies worked together seamlessly and professionally. Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council both did their bit. All the agencies had prepared, which is important. This was not just a knee-jerk reaction to a disaster; it was a second-worst-case scenario for which the police, ambulances and firefighters had planned. Their plan went into operation, and it worked.

I have met police officers, fire officers and others who dropped everything—some came back from holiday, and others returned to duty—to appear at their desks and do their job without complaint. That is real professionalism. I saw the family support officers working sensitively with the families, many of whom were waiting for news because it took many days before they knew whether their loved ones were among the victims. I saw the Red Cross canteen, with free food donated by Tesco to provide sustenance to all the professionals on the site.

15 Sep 2015 : Column 282WH

Brighton and Hove Albion football club lent its training centre just down the road, which became the police control centre that fed and watered all the officers. Lancing College provided accommodation and catering just next door. Marks & Spencer sent a consignment of fresh socks down to the site because all the police were getting terribly wet feet in the appalling conditions. Local people baked 500 cakes, which were delivered to the civic centre, many with messages and well wishes to be passed on to police officers, firefighters and others working at the site.

I am proud of that effort, which shows the importance of training and preparation. I hope the Minister will acknowledge that importance. Such training and preparation may be below the radar, and it may be unseen, but it is so important in such rare cases where it needs to kick into action. I hope we will preserve the importance and funding for such preparation.

I am also really proud of my community. There were numerous one-minute silences and one-minute applauses across the area. The old toll bridge just down from the accident site became a focus of everyone’s grief—it became the bridge of flowers, and the air was heavy with the scent. A constant queue of people have brought flowers, tributes, poems and football shirts, which continues today. I noticed a half-bottle of pink champagne, which is of significance to one of the victims. Tributes were paid at the Brighton and Hove football match I attended last Saturday and at Worthing United football club, for which two of the victims used to play. More than 7,000 people came along to the bridge in Shoreham to light candles, with people queuing in the rain for more than an hour.

The local road network was in complete chaos for several weeks after the crash and, indeed, is not back to normal, but the Highways Agency reported that it received the grand sum of eight complaints in the first week, such was the patience of local people who realised the magnitude of what happened. So far, more than £50,000 has been raised by the Sussex Community Foundation appeal. I am helping to organise a memorial service at Lancing College chapel in a few weeks’ time. People and the families can come along to pay their respects and show their appreciation for the efforts of the emergency services.

The first question asked by everyone in Lancing, Shoreham and the wider area was, “What more can we do?” If there is such a thing as a textbook response to such an enormous tragedy, this was it: by our emergency services and the importance of emergency planning, and by the way the local community rallied round, which showed how we all care. I am proud to be their MP.

There had previously been a crash at the Shoreham air show in 2007. Alas, a pilot lost his life, but there were no other casualties, when a Hawker Hurricane ploughed into the downs. Changes were made to the timing of the air show and the flightpath into the air show following that crash, but there are still questions. Should such high-powered jet planes be flying further away from the crowd? The trouble with the air show is that the spectators are not only at the airfield site; they are on the roads and in pubs and houses on the downs for far around to get a good vantage point. Many of the victims, of course, were not actually at, or intending to go to, the air show; they were travelling past on the A27.

15 Sep 2015 : Column 283WH

With such demanding manoeuvres, are we expecting too much of very old aircraft? This plane was built in 1951, although it had been well maintained, and the pilots who flew it, including the one flying on the day, were highly skilled and highly experienced. I said at the beginning that it is important not to rush to judgment until we have all the facts, but can we make these events safer without losing their appeal? Can we find a practical solution? What is the next step? What is the timetable? I would be grateful if the Minister could comment on that. What lessons can we learn from the emergency services’ operation, and how could those lessons apply to other serious incidents that we need to prepare for across the country? It is important that we do not cut back on training and emergency planning, however invisible it might be most of the year.

I pay tribute to the families of the victims who lost their lives. We must continue to look after them. If there is one crumb of comfort from all this, it is the fantastic performance of our emergency services, who did an amazing job. It is a very demanding job that we would not do ourselves, and they performed it hugely professionally. The community rallied round and appreciates their work. It is a horrible tragedy, but we owe it to the families to get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and we must make sure that we go the nth mile to make things as safe as possible so that we do not have a repeat of the horrible event on the day of 22 August in Shoreham.

4.15 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Claire Perry): I thank my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) for his deeply moving and very thoughtful speech, and I congratulate him on securing this debate. I also thank my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Sir Gerald Howarth) for contributing his knowledge of this subject, which is clearly profound.

On Saturday 22 August, 11 people were killed when a Hawker Hunter aircraft taking part in the Shoreham air show crashed into the A27. Those people were going about their daily business: one was working as a chauffeur on his way to pick up a bride on her wedding day; another was taking photographs of the air show from the verge; and others were travelling entirely separately from the air show to have fun, to see friends and to play sport. Tragically, none of those people completed their journey. As my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham has said, this awful accident resulted in the first loss of life on the ground at an air show since 1952 and the largest single loss of civilian life since the incidents of 7/7. It is a true tragedy.

This debate allows me to put on record my condolences, and indeed the condolences of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport, to all those affected, especially the families who have lost loved ones. I also offer my profound thanks to the emergency services, which, as we have heard so eloquently described, responded with professionalism and effectiveness in the face of what must have been a harrowing task—the first responders, the police officers and the fire service personnel. We have heard how those people were supported by members of the local community, both on that tragic day and
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since. I have asked the question and am pleased to know that counselling and support is available for members of the emergency services who need it. Emergency service personnel and West Sussex County Council are working to provide post-traumatic counselling for those affected by the crash.

I express my admiration for my hon. Friend, who worked tirelessly on what must have been an extremely difficult day, and over the difficult weeks since, to help the local community come together, to further the investigation and to ask tough questions to ensure that this does not happen again. I understand that he is involved in discussions with the community about an appropriate service of memorial. This is a deeply personal and local matter, but the Government stand by willing to help and support in any way we can.

It might be helpful if I set out exactly what is happening with the investigation timetable, and hopefully I will answer my hon. Friend’s questions during that process. As he knows, the air accidents investigation branch is in the careful and forensic process of investigating the causes of this accident, and it is working to ensure that such an accident cannot happen again. There has been a preliminary report on the circumstances of the crash, and he will have seen some of that information. The weather was good and the aircraft met its pre-flight checks. The aircraft was conducting a high-energy manoeuvre with both a vertical and a rolling component and, following the subsequent descent, it did not achieve level flight before striking the westbound carriageway of the A27, with tragic consequences. It was truly chilling to hear how it could have been so much worse if the timings had been different by even a split second.

I cannot speculate on the causes of the crash beyond what was stated in the preliminary report, and I do not want to pre-judge the outcome of the AAIB’s investigation, but I reassure hon. Members that action is already being taken to ensure that we learn from this tragedy and prevent it from being repeated. Three things are happening.

First, the Civil Aviation Authority, which is responsible for regulating the safety of air displays, has acted promptly. It grounded all Hawker Hunter aircraft immediately and indefinitely on Saturday 22 August and has limited flying displays over land by vintage jet aircraft to fly-pasts. High-energy aerobatics, as my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot said, have been banned.

Secondly, following the accident, the CAA is conducting additional risk assessments of all future air displays and has already introduced additional precautionary measures at some locations, resulting in changes to the displays flown. Given that this weekend is the 70th anniversary of the battle of Britain, a number of shows are being planned. Duxford air base, which many hon. Members will know, has already made changes to its display to offer more protection for the surrounding infrastructure and area.

I am sure that my hon. Friend will join me in welcoming such a thorough and comprehensive immediate response to the incident. It is clearly appropriate. As he said, it is not the time for knee-jerk reactions. As he also said, air shows are a proud tradition in the UK, with many local events providing a centre point for the community. What made the Shoreham accident all the more tragic and poignant is that so many local families were involved, attending what had become a much-loved local event. It
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illustrates the need to ensure that we mitigate any future safety risks proportionately. We do not want to be heavy-handed, potentially ending the much-loved tradition of local air shows, which support local economies and charities, and more significant national displays that support our proud national aviation industry.

As my hon. Friend knows, to ensure the most appropriate long-term safety solution, the CAA has commenced a full review of civil air display safety standards. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it will consider: the range of permitted manoeuvres for aircraft, particularly high-performance or vintage jet aircraft; the content of the air display; the location and characteristics of the air display venue, taking particular account of the surrounding land and infrastructure. The review will conclude by the beginning of next year, but an interim report will be produced next month. The CAA has appointed an external challenge panel to test the report’s findings. The panel will be led by Geoffrey Podger, a gentleman with extensive experience of internal and external communication and risk-based regulation policy and enforcement.

The CAA has also committed to acting immediately as necessary on any new information that emerges from the current AAIB investigation. The safety of the public is of paramount concern, and of course the Government support the independent investigation and review in order to ensure that they happen in an appropriate and timely manner. On conclusion of the processes, we will give further consideration to any additional legislation that may be required to ensure that safety is maintained.

In my view, the CAA’s response to this terrible tragedy is sensible and proportionate. My hon. Friend asked me to put on record the result of careful contingency planning for emergencies, and I am happy to acknowledge its importance and the need for continued training in emergency preparedness. I am happy to provide him with that reassurance.

Of course, none of this can bring back the people who so tragically lost their lives. Again, I put on record my condolences and those of the whole Government to
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the families of the victims and those who had to deal as part of their professional or voluntary jobs with the horrific consequences of the incident. It has been a truly testing time for the local community, and it was heart-warming to hear from my hon. Friend how the communities pulled together with clean socks, cups of tea, cakes and flowers, and have come together to acknowledge the scale of the tragedy and memorialise the work and lives of those who so tragically lost their lives.

Tim Loughton: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her comments. She has made a point that I neglected to make and want to reinforce about the importance of providing support for the emergency services. Those first responders and those involved in the clean-up operation afterwards saw some extraordinarily harrowing scenes. Many of them suffered as a result, and they may not realise it until some time later. Does she agree that while it is obviously important to provide support to the families of the victims, we should not neglect to ensure that full psychological and other services are available for those on whom we depend to be professional, who are human just like us?

Claire Perry: My hon. Friend makes that point well. We are asking people, in the course of their daily work and lives, things that are beyond the imagination of anyone in this room. I was delighted to ask specifically that facilities were in place to ensure that members of the emergency services receive all the counselling and support necessary.

It is a tribute to my hon. Friend’s energy and commitment that he has secured this debate. It was a tragedy of immense proportions. The immediate response has been proportionate and sensible, and a forensic review is going on to determine what more is required to ensure that we have safe air shows in future. I thank my hon. Friend for securing this debate.






Why don't we all wait for those reports to appear and stop the "I can speculate better than you" playground politics

Until we have a wider presentation of the FACTS we run the risk of being no better than the tabloid journalists if we continue to opine.

Time to put a temporary lock on this thread Mr Speaker I suggest.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 13:54
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To be fair, some of the entries have contained nonsense, not speculation, so that some other of the entries have merely reacted to the nonsense.

As you do.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 14:14
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Whilst it isn't a substantive part of the process now under way, I thought the Westminster Hall debate had a measured and sensible tone about it, which is most welcome.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 20:05
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Courtney

You seem to have a habit of picking an argument with me at every opportunity. If you look back through my posts, at no point do I ever advocate prosecuting the pilot. I only ever asked if it was a possibility, given the information given in the AAIB preliminary report.

Neither you nor anyone else here has any idea what is in Andy's display authorisation. If you don't understand what a display authorisation is or where minimum heights are stipulated read CAP 403 before repeating such "allegations" in public. You should already be conversant with the Air Navigation Order given your CPL. Perhaps you might consider if the allegations were made by anyone that has seen Andy's DA; I doubt its contents will reach the public domain until much later in the investigation.
Absolutely correct - I have no idea what his DA contained. The "allegations" are not mine - they are clearly stated in the AAIB preliminary report:

The aircraft remained in a gentle right turn with the angle of bank decreasing as it descended to 100 ft amsl and flew along the display line.
This is completely within his DA. But then the report continues:


It commenced a gentle climbing right turn to 1,600 ft amsl, executing a Derry turn2 to the left and then commenced a descending left turn to 200 ft amsl, approaching the display line at an angle of about 45o. The aircraft then pitched up into a manoeuvre with both a vertical component and roll to the left, becoming almost fully inverted at the apex of the manoeuvre at a height of approximately 2,600 ft amsl.
Is the subsequent descent to 200ft amsl within the bounds of his DA? As I wrote in an earlier post, if he had levelled out at 500ft to start his loop then the incident would never have happened. Whether you like it or not, that is going to picked over very carefully by the police and CPS.

Just to reiterate, since you appear to have some personal relationship with the pilot, I am not the slightest bit advocating that he be prosecuted. That is a judgement entirely for the police. However, I am certainly interested in the legal procedure that is likely to unfold in the coming months and years.
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