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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

Old 23rd Mar 2019, 14:57
  #281 (permalink)  
 
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H Peacock,
I am not suggesting that we can live in a world which is risk free, but simply that there are sometimes consequences which are so unpalatable that the risk of them occurring has to be demonstrably extremely small to allow the activity to rationally take place. I would respectfully submit that civil aviation operations around busy airports are demonstrably very low risk, whereas display flying particularly of vintage fast jets is not.
Don't get me wrong, I love to see vintage aircraft put through their paces, but the venue has to be appropriate to the intended display. I don't think Shoreham was, and I don't think that is down to the pilot.
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Old 23rd Mar 2019, 19:25
  #282 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post


All of which would be a fine and dandy argument if display accidents ran at one every 20 years. Sadly not the case.
As far as the UK goes fatalities and accidents at air shows generally have been through a spate in the last 20 or so years. Biggin Hill saw two in as many days in 2001, a Hurricane was lost with the Pilot at Shoreham a few years ago, there have been others, all so far have involved vintage ex military types. Back in the late forties and early fifties, every annual Battle of Britain 'At Home' day would see at least two fatalities! But then we're looking at around 70 odd similar events on the same day! Something else to make the modern mind boggle.

FB

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Old 24th Mar 2019, 02:01
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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Put differently, even a perfect pilot flying a perfect aircraft in a perfect manner represented an unacceptable level of risk flying that display at Shoreham given the potential for disaster if something did go wrong
Even the best practised are not immune from errors, though in this case he had a safe place in which to crash. The Hunter test pilot, Bill Bedford, demonstrating the aircraft to the Swiss made the error of forgetting he was displaying at a high altitude airport and on the down line of a loop realised he may not make it, but did.

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Old 24th Mar 2019, 06:27
  #284 (permalink)  
 
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I am not surprised at the verdict, but was surprised at the defense that won the day. Fast jet flying has always been an unforgiving environment and people make mistakes that if fatal usually just cost crew lives. In my career through the 80/90s I knew of 10 colleagues that died under the age of 30. BV expressed my view many pages ago when he said that as a current FJ pilot you wouldnít get him near a display jet without currency and a proper work up. Yet that is what happened.

In the modern world we have become sanitized to the true threats of high energy maneuvering. In F1, cars have catastrophic crashes and our heroís usually walk away unscathed. If you really want to understand the risks of aviation with 50s jets you need to take a history lesson. My dad started flying in 52 and was the only one of his course of 19 still alive by the end of the 60s. Most died in air crashes.

In the time of the Hunter the UK military lost on average 1 aircraft each and every day! Youngsters will scoff at that stat but in 56 we had lost 40 before the end of January. If you want a proper understanding of the risks of 50s aviation, look no further:

UK Military Aircraft Losses

I am all for displaying war birds, what is missed by some that display them is the watching public donít really care about the quality or difficulty of the display; itís not a competion! They want a nice safe environment, lots of noise (low and fast works best) and a bit of upside down. A wacky Ďwifadilí entry into the display line might satisfy the pilot but the average person in the street doesnít give a rats ass.

Last edited by Schnowzer; 24th Mar 2019 at 10:11. Reason: Addition of paragraph
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 14:00
  #285 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Legalapproach View Post
It was a tongue in cheek answer. The way the prosecution deal with it is to commission their own experts to review the available/admissible evidence and give an opinion. The prosecution were able to use film of the incident, NATS radar data and in some instances non AAIB witnesses who had provided opinion to the AAIB ( i.e. medical witnesses, the test pilot (who had been commissioned jointly by the police and AAIB) etc. Because all of this was available independent of the AAIB and not protected material. The witnesses essentially gave fresh statements.



In fact no, that was the allegation made by the prosecution but denied by the defence. The defence produced evidence that the aircraft was not flying a loop. In reaching their not guilty verdicts the jury were not satisfied that a loop was being flown.
If it wasn't a loop, what was it...?!

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Old 24th Mar 2019, 14:19
  #286 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
Even the best practised are not immune from errors, though in this case he had a safe place in which to crash. The Hunter test pilot, Bill Bedford, demonstrating the aircraft to the Swiss made the error of forgetting he was displaying at a high altitude airport and on the down line of a loop realised he may not make it, but did.
As much of this post involves discussion of loops, to keep the record straight I believe that Bill's event that you describe was actually during the recovery from an intentional spin, not a loop.

My dad started flying in 52 and was the only one of his course of 19 still alive by the end of the 60s. Most died in air crashes.

In the time of the Hunter the UK military lost on average 1 aircraft each and every day! Youngsters will scoff at that stat but in 56 we had lost 40 before the end of January.
I feel that there is little correlation between these statistics and the Shoreham accident. You have to look at why the accident rate was as it was in the '50s and '60s. There is nothing to indicate that at Shoreham there was any causal factor related to the aircraft type or its era. There are certainly factors related to it being a swept wing jet but those apply equally to types that are in production today. The Hunter has generally very good, benign flying qualities. Its main (only?) deficiency is that it is easy to exceed the g limit during manoeuvres involving rapid g onset rates but that will not cause air display accidents. The main consideration with aeroplanes of this era is that for flying in IMC the instruments, unless updated, require 'old skills' and are unreliable. However, as the aircraft that are displayed are cleared for VMC only that is not a safety factor in this context.

One more point of accuracy with respect to 'In the time of the Hunter ..', the Hunter remained in RAF service until 1994 and MAA registered ones are still flying today!
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 15:54
  #287 (permalink)  
 
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One more point of accuracy with respect to 'In the time of the Hunter ..', the Hunter remained in RAF service until 1994 and MAA registered ones are still flying today!
Thanks for the education Mr Lomcevak, I am sorry, I didnít realize posts were being graded on this thread. I assumed comment was still allowed. Iíll run the next post past my lawyer.

Oddly enough even with my lack of SA, when I was flying in close with a Hunter in the 90s, I actually spotted it was still flying. But then as 6 crashed on the same day in 1956, I reckon that carries more weight. Using your logic, we still live in the time of Bleriot seeing as the Shuttleworth collection get one out every now and then.
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 16:03
  #288 (permalink)  
 
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Schnowzer,

I was just trying to put your comments into context. Did the Raynham Hunter accident occur because they were Hunters or because of how they operated at the time? Today, old aeroplanes such as the Hunter are not operated in the same way as they were 50 years ago. Therefore, any attempt to analyse accident statistics need to be put into the context of the time.
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 16:33
  #289 (permalink)  
 
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So, on the topic of Dad's ....mine kept the newspaper cuttings from most of the 50s air crashes and I recall the six Hunter article - my recollection is it was weather related, with most of the jets running out of fuel after trying to find somehwere to put down in thick fog.
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 16:45
  #290 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by andrewn View Post
So, on the topic of Dad's ....mine kept the newspaper cuttings from most of the 50s air crashes and I recall the six Hunter article - my recollection is it was weather related, with most of the jets running out of fuel after trying to find somehwere to put down in thick fog.
See following link.

https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=58328
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 18:39
  #291 (permalink)  
 
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It would seem a dangerous precedent has been set - have a defence of cognitive impairment that is impossible to prove either way (but the burden of proof is on the prosecution) and you can basically do anything in an aircraft and get away with it - frankly sir the law is an ass!
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 18:43
  #292 (permalink)  
 
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Digression but this may be of interest.
I joined the Met Office that year. The West Raynham Hunter debacle was infamous, but I never understood why the purveyor of the rubbish forecast was not himself/ herself infamous ........ cock ups much less serious were embedded in the folklore, such as losing 1000 racing pigeons.or suggesting that Holme on Spalding Moor would be a good div.
Perhaps losing aircraft to rubbish forecasts was all in the day's work.
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 19:45
  #293 (permalink)  
 
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I have to say Legalapproach, that you and your colleagues played an absolute blinder by introducing the Cognitive Impairment aspect to the defence. With no way of proving that it did or didn't happen via medical evidence, then strictly by the book, there is no way a conviction could have occurred under the burden of proof.

Job done. Forget about everything else. 1-0 to the defence.
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 20:31
  #294 (permalink)  
 
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If a true jury of peers drawn from suitably qualified pilots had sat for this case I wonder if the verdict would have been different. Juries always seem to struggle with more specialist cases (eg Mike Morison) and now high-performance aviation and aviation medicine can be added to the list of troublesome topics.

I still don't know how AH can live with himself with the defence he offered. My professional open-mindedness was slammed shut when he claimed almost no knowledge and no RAF training with respect to the effects of G when flying high-performance aircraft - including the relatively low G available when flying so slow. These were utterly absurd and untruthful statements that were designed to deceive, yet the prosecution did not have the counter to hand. I understand that he was entitled to defend himself and that the burden of proving a case is with the prosecution but you would struggle to find any RAF or RN fast-jet aircrew who thought his answers on that subject were accurate or truthful.

The chap came close to crashing on take-off on that fateful day - that could have been a better outcome for all concerned. We could then just debate the wisdom of no proper performance calculations and the mystery of accepting a tailwind in an aircraft that he had almost no experience flying.
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 22:24
  #295 (permalink)  
 
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The first person we have t convince when we need to defend ourselves is ourself. Many if us gave been around enquiries and perhaps wondered at the strength of the need not to seem guilty. Andy Hill must believe in his defence.

We have, in many cases, adopted no blame enquiries. This started in aviation but is now seen in medicine. Vis. CHIRP We need to know what happened in order to reduce future risk. Too much arse covering arse covering allowed bad practices to continue.
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Old 25th Mar 2019, 01:37
  #296 (permalink)  
 
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I believe that Bill's event that you describe was actually during the recovery from an intentional spin, not a loop
Hi LOMCEVAK, all the references I've seen say loop when demonstrating the aircraft to the Swiss, during one course the event was used as an example of the effects of DA on performance, and as an example of even the best are capably of screwing the pooch without any help. The spin event was another item on Bill's CV.
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Old 25th Mar 2019, 09:37
  #297 (permalink)  
 
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I still don't know how AH can live with himself with the defence he offered. My professional open-mindedness was slammed shut when he claimed almost no knowledge and no RAF training with respect to the effects of G when flying high-performance aircraft - including the relatively low G available when flying so slow. These were utterly absurd and untruthful statements that were designed to deceive, yet the prosecution did not have the counter to hand. I understand that he was entitled to defend himself and that the burden of proving a case is with the prosecution but you would struggle to find any RAF or RN fast-jet aircrew who thought his answers on that subject were accurate or truthful.
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When the defence lawyers receive material from the prosecution etc they go to independent experts to confirm the accuracy or not of the material and whether any opinion based on the material is correct/whether there is a conflicting body of opinion, whether there are areas that have not been properly investigated etc etc. Sometimes the independent expert will say "I agree" sometimes they will say "No it is wrong and for this reason". This is what happens in many many cases. It is what happened here. AH remembers nothing about the flight , he never put himself forward as a medical expert. His defence was not created by him nor by his lawyers but put forward by independent expert witnesses.

As to G knowledge I am afraid that you base your opinion on what was reported in the newspapers. This was not completely accurate and taken out of context. Prosecution witnesses had already given evidence that G knowledge and training has changed dramatically in recent years. At the time AH was trained, there was limited (mostly classroom based and brief) G training, no centrifuge training, no use of the expression A-LOC etc. If you and then many like you accuse AH of telling deliberate lies then the prosecution witnesses must have been likewise perjuring themselves. This evidence was unchallenged by the prosecution because many of their own witnesses confirmed it.
Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers. I read reports of KKQC cross examining particular witnesses and the xx apparently reported verbatim including his name. Those witnesses were called on a day when AFAIK KK was in New York and some other bloke was doing the XX!
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Old 25th Mar 2019, 10:44
  #298 (permalink)  
 
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Nice to see that with a bit of money you can buy your way out of any trouble you cause. I must remember that one.
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Old 25th Mar 2019, 10:45
  #299 (permalink)  
 
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Defence lawyers everywhere may well be smacking their lips ! A plea of cognitive impairment means that no one will ever be guilty of anything !
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Old 25th Mar 2019, 10:55
  #300 (permalink)  
 
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Bill Bedford addressed a symposium of the European SETP in Switzerland in 1989 I think it was, and recounted the tale. His close encounter with the ground was during his famous multi-turn spin demonstration. He was on a sales drive to sell Hunters to the Swiss some years before the symposium and the incident was caused by an inaccurate altimeter setting, I believe.
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