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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

Old 30th Jun 2020, 07:06
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Shoreham

I think Iíve made my feelings pretty clear in the past but I have to ask, what end state do we all want from this?

If CI is actually a thing we need to be scared of then surely that is the end of all display flying. Who in their right mind would pay to go and watch people throwing high performance machinery around in close proximity to crowds if that individual might, at any time, lose the ability to think and act rationally?

Even military pilots who are current and competent on type could apparently be prone to CI at any time let alone civilians with low experience and currency levels.

If, as I suspect, AH became confused or overloaded (maxed out as previously explained) then surely the CAA must mandate that all civilian pilots of FJs must undergo far more rigorous assessments and possess far more experience and recency on type than AH possessed on that fateful day.

I last flew the Jaguar in 2007. I had 600 hours on type. That is not dissimilar (Although actually far better) to AHs level of FJ recency when he crashed (bearing in mind JP was his aircraft of expertise not the Hunter). If you gave me a handful of hours to refresh on a Jag and asked me to do LL aeros Iíd tell you to take a running jump. If you asked me to fly something similar to the Jaguar but not the same (ie a Phantom) Iíd again tell you to get lost.

Even if you told me to do a LL display in a Hawk (2750 hours and increasing by the day) Iíd still say no.

LL aeros are not my day job (even though flying FJs is) so I wouldnít dream of performing them for a crowd.

The bottom line is that a lawyer managed to successfully argue for the presence of CI on that day. In saving his own bacon (understandably so and quite possibly completely legitimately) surely AH may have brought forth the end of all civilian, and maybe all military, LL displays?

As I said many posts ago. There is no way I will take my family to any air show with old jets flying unless I can be damn sure the person flying them is competent and qualified enough to be flying it. Right now, I honestly am not sufficiently assured that is the case.

I realise there are people who wish to stick up for AH (and good on you for doing so) but this FJ pilot is just not convinced. I fully understand that doesnít matter one jot. The only person who will need convincing is the Coroner when the time comes.

BV
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 07:12
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Shame it's taken 557 posts to finally arrive here.
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 08:26
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Originally Posted by airsound View Post
my professional knowledge of Andy Hill was as a very competent display Pilot

airsound
Really?? And how would a journalist know how competently he conducted pre-flight planning? How would you know how competently he considered the particular idiosyncrasies of a display venue? How would you know how thoroughly he considered the effect that OAT, wind and pressure altitude would have on his display profile? Or how competently he reacquainted himself with the controls, switches and Instruments of the Hunter cockpit before he displayed a type he had a slack handful of hours on in the last six months?

This military FJ pilot, with my professional knowledge, has a different opinion of AHís competence and preparedness, which is rather more akin to Timelordís and Bob Vikingís.....
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 08:41
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Originally Posted by just another jocky View Post
Shame it's taken 557 posts to finally arrive here.
Having looked closely at all the recent posts on this subject I guess that we are in fact all largely singing from the same hymn sheet but perhaps not exactly the same verse.

BJ has put this very succinctly in his two post on here

My concern throughout is that the findings of the judge in the trial - CI, could become the standard get out clause for major screw-ups in the future. So a huge responsibility now rests on the shoulder of the Coroner to get it right this time. How I have no idea but I wish her well!
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 09:24
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Originally Posted by DODGYOLDFART View Post
CI, could become the standard get out clause for major screw-ups in the future
Or a prosecuting QC could legitimately argue that a display pilot who didn't fly with sufficient margin for error to account for factors including CI could be considered negligent?
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 13:13
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Homelover
...how would a journalist know...
Ouch!

Without getting into arguments about whether journalists are capable of investigating things that most people may not know about, Iíd like to say that Iím happy to be described as one.

But perhaps of more relevance is that Iíve been an air show commentator for more than forty years, a time that started towards the end of my twenty yearsí RAF service.

As a commentator, I had researched and observed Andy Hill displaying in various aircraft. I had met him, and discussed his displays with him. I had read about his commendable time on the Harrier force, his time as an aerobatic instructor, and his many airline captaincy hours. I had formed the impression that he was habitually a meticulous preparer for any flight.

However, I would be the first to accept that I donít know the detailed answers to the questions that you pose, Homelover, about his preparedness on a particular day. But nor would many others, I suggest, perhaps even you? That doesnít mean that he couldnít be described as very competent. You and some others differ, clearly.

I do, also, come back to his Old Bailey trial, which I attended for virtually all of its eight weeks. AH was acquitted of gross negligence manslaughter not because of smooth barristers, although his defence team was very good. No, he was found not guilty because sufficient believable evidence, much of it to a high technical standard, was produced in court to cast doubt on the prosecution evidence. Whatever, the jury was unanimous, after about seven hours of consideration.

airsound




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Old 30th Jun 2020, 13:34
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Airsound

I realise you know AH and feel a sense of loyalty towards him.

You talk of commendable time on the Harrier and being an aerobatics instructor and an airline pilot. But how much of that was recent or relevant enough to sitting in a Hunter on the day in question?

I could stand next to a Typhoon and very convincingly talk to you about how I could fly it but that ultimately would mean nothing.

BV

Last edited by Bob Viking; 30th Jun 2020 at 18:20.
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 13:54
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There are at least three contributory factors here for the coroner to consider, when he or she finally gets round to it; pilot, aircraft, and venue. The emphasis here has been almost entirely on the former, plus or minus CI. The latter two would suggest a poor, extending to none existent, degree of regulatory oversight. As tuc has previously suggested there are a lot of people hoping that the pilot, plus or minus CI, will take centre stage in that consideration lest attention also be drawn to the latter two factors.
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 14:06
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
There are at least three contributory factors here for the coroner to consider, when he or she finally gets round to it; pilot, aircraft, and venue. The emphasis here has been almost entirely on the former, plus or minus CI. The latter two would suggest a poor, extending to none existent, degree of regulatory oversight. As tuc has previously suggested there are a lot of people hoping that the pilot, plus or minus CI, will take centre stage in that consideration lest attention also be drawn to the latter two factors.
The CAA doesn't escape so easily even if attention is 100% focussed on the pilot. The civil display pilot certification and currency regime was woefully lax by comparison to its military equivalent. Which, you might well observe, makes a change
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 16:29
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
The latter two would suggest a poor, extending to none existent, degree of regulatory oversight.
Completely agree with you and Easy Street.

CI or not, there was an unchecked atmosphere in which a display pilot could nibble away at the margins until the inevitable happened. This accident had already been happening for years already and no-one really did anything about it. Frankly, I thought the CAA, and to a lesser degree, the airshow supervision, were jointly culpable to some extent.
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 17:03
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Originally Posted by DaveJ75 View Post
Completely agree with you and Easy Street.

CI or not, there was an unchecked atmosphere in which a display pilot could nibble away at the margins until the inevitable happened. This accident had already been happening for years already and no-one really did anything about it. Frankly, I thought the CAA, and to a lesser degree, the airshow supervision, were jointly culpable to some extent.
And the disaster that was Shoreham was preceeded only a month or so earlier by the Gnat crash at Carfest at Oulton Park, that by luck didn't also result in ground victims.......and also left a question regarding pilot experience and currency.
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 20:21
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Originally Posted by DaveJ75 View Post
Completely agree with you and Easy Street.

CI or not, there was an unchecked atmosphere in which a display pilot could nibble away at the margins until the inevitable happened. This accident had already been happening for years already and no-one really did anything about it. Frankly, I thought the CAA, and to a lesser degree, the airshow supervision, were jointly culpable to some extent.
I had a quick scan through the AAIB report for the Hurricane that crashed at the 2007 Shoreham Airshow, only a few hundred metres from the 2015 disaster location. Other than pointing out that the aircraft had crashed 250m from Lancing College the report didn't discuss the risks to lives and property on the ground at all.

I really don't think CI is worthy of investigation by the AAIB or CAA at all. What they need to be doing is looking at the more general risk to people on the ground arising from pilot error and/or incapacitation, or even technical failure of the aircraft itself. One possible mitigation for pilot error/incapacitation might be a second pilot on the aircraft to monitor and intervene. This would obviously limit the types of aircraft that could take part.
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Old 30th Jun 2020, 21:49
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One possible mitigation for pilot error/incapacitation might be a second pilot on the aircraft to monitor and intervene.
Do you mean like LTC Mark McGeehan, the sqn cdr in LTC Bud Holland's RHS for the Fairchild B52 accident who lost his life trying to monitor and intervene?
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 00:24
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Originally Posted by Fortissimo View Post
Do you mean like LTC Mark McGeehan, the sqn cdr in LTC Bud Holland's RHS for the Fairchild B52 accident who lost his life trying to monitor and intervene?
He lost his life failing to monitor and intervene!! (And failing to supervise and command as well)

Very sad indeed.

OH
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 01:51
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Excuse the thread drift...

Originally Posted by OvertHawk View Post
He lost his life failing to monitor and intervene!! (And failing to supervise and command as well)

Very sad indeed.

OH
You need to correct that bracketed slur on a dead man who exercised more command and leadership than everyone else involved in that sorry tale, combined. Bud Holland was not under McGeehanís command or supervision. As the Wing standards pilot Holland reported directly to Wing leadership so in command terms they shared common superiors. In supervisory terms, if anything, Holland was supposed to supervise the squadron commanders on the leadershipís behalf. McGeehan complained about Hollandís conduct to Colonel Pellerin (who ended up being fined for dereliction of duty), banned squadron pilots from flying with Holland, and flew as co-pilot if any of his rear crew had to fly with him. Not sure what else he could have done as a commander or supervisor. Who knows whether any monitoring or intervention could have saved the day? Given prior occurrences and the degree of personal animosity between the two men Iíd have been unsurprised if Holland simply ignored McGeehan or even fought him on the controls. But thereís no evidence for any of that. McGeehanís biggest definite failing was flying at all, but thatís easy to say when he would have been under pressure to do so from his superiors, who clearly werenít too concerned about Holland and needed a display for the familiesí day. The command and supervisory failures, both on the day and through the long build-up, were all theirs. Retract.

Last edited by Easy Street; 1st Jul 2020 at 02:20.
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 06:00
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What more could McGeehan have done OvertHawk?
On 10 March 1994, Holland commanded a single-aircraft training mission to the Yakima Bombing Range, to provide an authorized photographer an opportunity to document the aircraft as it dropped training munitions. The minimum aircraft altitude permitted for that area was 500 feet (150 m) AGL; during the mission, Holland's aircraft was filmed crossing one ridgeline about 30 feet (10 m) above the ground. Fearing for their safety, the photography crew ceased filming and took cover as Holland's aircraft again passed low over the ground, this time estimated as clearing the ridgeline by only three feet (1 m). The co-pilot on Holland's aircraft testified that he grabbed the controls to prevent Holland from flying the aircraft into the ridge while the aircraft's other two aircrew members repeatedly screamed at Holland: "Climb! Climb!" Holland responded by laughing and calling one of the crew members "a pussy"

After that mission, the crew decided that they would never again fly with Holland and reported the incident to the bomb squadron leadership. The USAF squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mark McGeehan, reported the incident to Pellerin (commander of the 92nd Operations Group) and recommended that Holland be removed from flying duty. Pellerin consulted with Holland and gave him an oral reprimand and warning not to repeat the behavior, but refused to take him off flying duty. Pellerin also did not document the incident or the reprimand, nor did he notify his superiors, who remained unaware of the incident. McGeehan then decided that in order to protect his aircrews, he (McGeehan) would be the co-pilot on any future missions in which Holland was the command pilot. Evidence suggests that after this incident, "considerable animosity" existed between Holland and McGeehan.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_F...ase_B-52_crash

Last edited by megan; 1st Jul 2020 at 06:10.
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 06:49
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Originally Posted by Fortissimo View Post
Do you mean like LTC Mark McGeehan, the sqn cdr in LTC Bud Holland's RHS for the Fairchild B52 accident who lost his life trying to monitor and intervene?
Others have commented on the circumstances surrounding that accident, and it's pretty clear that the Air Force chain of command failed in allowing Bud Holland to continue flying. All I would add is that the accident occurred during practice and damage/loss of life was confined within the Air Force base so, to that extent, the system worked.
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 07:30
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Originally Posted by dastocks View Post
What they need to be doing is looking at the more general risk to people on the ground arising from pilot error and/or incapacitation, or even technical failure of the aircraft itself
You're in luck - the CAA have done it. Take a look at the new CAP403 and you'll see swathes of guidance around risk assessment of threat to life on the ground 'in the event of'. You may have noticed a pre-pandemic reduction of planned airshows as a result of this...

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Old 1st Jul 2020, 08:00
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Originally Posted by Ridger View Post
You're in luck - the CAA have done it. Take a look at the new CAP403 and you'll see swathes of guidance around risk assessment of threat to life on the ground 'in the event of'. You may have noticed a pre-pandemic reduction of planned airshows as a result of this...
And the selling and/or grounding of a number of vintage/classic aircraft as a result.

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Old 1st Jul 2020, 09:49
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Originally Posted by Ridger View Post
You're in luck - the CAA have done it. Take a look at the new CAP403 and you'll see swathes of guidance around risk assessment of threat to life on the ground 'in the event of'. You may have noticed a pre-pandemic reduction of planned airshows as a result of this...
Meanwhile, work has started on building a new IKEA store and 600 homes on land to the west of Shoreham airport which is likely to reduce even further the scope of any future airshow at that location.
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