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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

Old 24th Dec 2022, 11:39
  #841 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by _Agrajag_
Apparent risk attracts punters.
When I started display flying (nearly 50 years ago) I was told that the trick was to make the easy look difficult, the difficult look impossible and never to attempt the impossible!

Mog
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 13:00
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Agra, Farnborough "I'll lay money that some of them ('big civil aircraft') are close to the edge of the safe flight envelope and almost certainly outside the manufacturers in-service operating envelope."
You would loose your money; excepting some pitch / bank limits.

Farnborough flying is (was - getting old) tightly controlled being overseen by a flight control committee - test pilots or similar professionals. The committee updates the overall risk assessment based on previous and similar shows.
For all public displays, each pilot, aircraft, has to be approved for all options of good / bad weather routines, usually two flights. Individual pilots would have a 'mentor' of relevant experience according to type. Preflight briefings discuss the flight mechanics of manoeuvres and how they relate to operational performance, and for new aircraft what has been tested so far. Each display would be assessed by 3 or more of the committee.

Debriefings for practices, approval, and show-day displays are held in private, generally one to one. In some cases suggestions for change are made.
Very rarely, specific manoeuvres would not be approved.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 13:23
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Doesn't flying an aircraft outside the pitch or bank limits constitute flying "outside the manufacturers in-service operating envelope", as I wrote?

Not that long ago I flew a type with a placard limitation that read "Not to exceed 60° angle of bank" and my assumption was that it was unsafe to pull a tighter turn than that. I'm sure the aircraft would probably have been OK at a bit over 60°, but if I'd pulled it a bit tighter and then had it fall out of the sky I'm damned sure that the AAIB would have included my failure to stay within the safe operating envelope as the primary cause of the subsequent crash.

I also fully accept that in modern times Farnborough was a very well regulated flying programme. However, let's not forget that a significant part of the tightening up of air show safety came after the 1952 DH.110 crash, that killed the pilot, flight test observer and twenty nine spectators. That accident was a consequence of the aircraft being pitched up too hard after a high speed (supersonic) dive, causing the aircraft to disintegrate in mid-air.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 13:57
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That accident was a consequence of the aircraft being pitched up too hard after a high speed (supersonic) dive, causing the aircraft to disintegrate in mid-air.
Not so! The accident was caused because the wing had only 64% of the ultimate strength required in the design due to an erroneous estimate of the allowable stress at that point. The intended manoeuvre would not have caused a catastrophic failure had the wing design not been faulty.

John Derry was subsequently absolved of any blame for the accident.

Nevertheless, pre-1952 Fanrborough was something of a free for all. However, by 1953 the Farnborough Airfield Commandant had wisely introduced a new set of rigidly enforced safety rules.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 14:46
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Originally Posted by BEagle
Not so! The accident was caused because the wing had only 64% of the ultimate strength required in the design due to an erroneous estimate of the allowable stress at that point. The intended manoeuvre would not have caused a catastrophic failure had the wing design not been faulty.

John Derry was subsequently absolved of any blame for the accident.

Nevertheless, pre-1952 Fanrborough was something of a free for all. However, by 1953 the Farnborough Airfield Commandant had wisely introduced a new set of rigidly enforced safety rules.

Many thanks for the clarification.

I can easily understand how early flying displays became a bit of a free for all. Weren't the earliest of air shows little more than flying circuses? Easy to see how a "keeping the paying punters happy" culture could evolve.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 17:41
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
I assume that the BBC reference is to the original 21 Safety Recommendations made in the 2015/2016 AAIB Special Bulletins following the accident.

A further 11 were made in the 2017 Aircraft Accident Report, making 32 in total.
Possibly a correct assumption, I can't recall exactly.

31 for the CAA then I think.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 20:28
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Originally Posted by GeeRam
This seems to be going off at somewhat of a tangent, in terms of references to older piston types, which is not very relevant to Shoreham?
There's more chance of keeping a piston type airworthy, the skills are not being lost, and many of the main operators are passing on the knowledge to younger people already. The issue as ever is owners with deep enough pockets to restore and operate them.....and they are getting fewer, but with established maintainence operators like Air Leasing, ARC, Air Legends, and TFC of course, although TFC's fleet is ever reducing with SG's increasing age. Afterall, BBMF are contracting out their winter deep maintainence work to these operations now.

The subject when talking about post-war historic jets however, is effectively a non-subject now post Shoreham, as there are very few left now because of the post-Shoreham CAA changes, meaning owners have sold or grounded them having been unable to sell them. Other than a few JP's and the single(?) L39 that's all there is, flying in civvie hands and there's not likely to be any more than that now.
Still quite a few with PtFs including the Gnats and Hunters not in the hands of HHA. G-INFO tells you all.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 20:52
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No Hunters operating under Permits since Shoreham.
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 20:55
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Standby for another type close to my heart in the near future also 😊

Mog
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Old 24th Dec 2022, 21:12
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Originally Posted by Mike51
No Hunters operating under Permits since Shoreham.
Check on INFO confirms your statement.

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Old 24th Dec 2022, 21:14
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Originally Posted by Mogwi
Standby for another type close to my heart in the near future also 😊

Mog
Time will tell. The money is there, with the spares and I believe the backroom staff. When the maintenance provider is always asking for suitable people are available to do the work required, that does makes me wonder.
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Old 25th Dec 2022, 17:42
  #852 (permalink)  
 
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The root cause of this accident was a wholly unfit for purpose CAA regulatory regime for airshows. This airplane would never have been allowed to fly in a North American Airshow because the display area was not big enough and even if it was big enough the pilot would not have been eligible because his display authorization was obtained flying a 180 hp homebuilt not a jet.
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Old 25th Dec 2022, 19:17
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BPF: I accept that under different regulations the outcome cound have been very different, likewise had the Hunter been deemed non-airworthy and not been flown that fateful day. But the root cause was simply a mishandled loop!
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Old 25th Dec 2022, 20:19
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Originally Posted by H Peacock
But the root cause was simply a mishandled loop!
That wasn’t the root cause it was the result of the root cause. If the display area had been properly sized he would not have crashed in an area full of people on a road. Secondly if he had been properly evaluated for his display authorization, he likely would not have been allowed to fly this category of aircraft, especially given his previous airshow history.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 07:00
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever
That wasn’t the root cause it was the result of the root cause. If the display area had been properly sized he would not have crashed in an area full of people on a road. Secondly if he had been properly evaluated for his display authorization, he likely would not have been allowed to fly this category of aircraft, especially given his previous airshow history.
Surely cart before horse?
If the loop if flown safely it does not matter who is stood where on the ground.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 07:30
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever
That wasn’t the root cause it was the result of the root cause. If the display area had been properly sized he would not have crashed in an area full of people on a road. Secondly if he had been properly evaluated for his display authorization, he likely would not have been allowed to fly this category of aircraft, especially given his previous airshow history.
and if he was a competent pilot he’d have realised the display area was too small, and he wouldn’t be trying to fly that category of aircraft.

his was an entirely discretionary activity that day, and he had no need to walk out to the aircraft.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 08:59
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Originally Posted by _Agrajag_
I don't either, but there are a lot of paying punters that go to air shows to see aircraft performing dynamic manoeuvres, and those punters are a significant revenue stream that helps keep those aircraft flying. If air shows are forced to only fly parade laps then I rather think that visitor numbers will reduce. For example, ask many air show punters what they consider to be the best part of the Red's display and they will likely say the opposition pair. The risk is not from flight dynamics, but the high closing speed and apparent close proximity looks very dramatic from the ground (and even more so from the cockpit video footage).

The Shoreham crash would not have happened if the Hunter has been restricted to flying just a relatively safe parade lap, Even though the loop, as planned, rather than as executed, was not a particularly dynamic manoeuvre, it was intended to increase the appeal of the aircraft to the audience, I'm sure, and keeping the audience happy is what keeps them coming back.

The same is true of every air show. Take Farnborough, as another example. Many of the big civil aircraft taking part are being shown off by the manufacturers, and perform dynamic manoeuvres that they are most probably never going to perform in service. I'll lay money that some of them are close to the edge of the safe flight envelope and almost certainly outside the manufacturers in-service operating envelope. The risks are low, but they do these dynamic manoeuvres to make their aircraft stand out and grab the attention of the media.

Apparent risk attracts punters, be it to air shows or many other events, even TV shows. It seems to be a inherent part of human nature to want to view things that look risky.
Hasn't every manufacturer done this? E.g. barrel-rolling the Vulcan in 1955?
A few pilots have done stuff that was "risky" too. Belfast International Airport's first Airshow in 1985(?) when the BMA scheduled DC-9 from London Heathrow did a low fly-by, wheels up, down the runway centre-line with normal fare-paying passengers on board. The Air Bridge Merchantman Captain wanted to do a low fly-by/pull up with two engines off.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 08:59
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever
That wasn’t the root cause it was the result of the root cause.
As with many if not most accidents, as soon as one starts to talk about "the root cause", one risks oversimplifying what happened to the point of meaninglessness.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 09:27
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In the usual analysis of accidents, there is always a 'root cause' which cascades other factors that build the consequences of the accident. Regulation did not cause this accident, it might have prevented it, but a mishandled loop was the direct cause of the aircraft hitting the ground. Everyone has expressed their views on why the mishandling occurred, and a court has accepted one explanation, but the exact reason will never be proven.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 10:16
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Having followed this thread from the outset, and made a few contributions along the way, it does strike me that we are now reaching a point where there is significant degree of consensus around the key points:
- The regulators failed dramatically. This aircraft should not have been flying, this pilot should not have been flying it, and they should not have been attempting to fly this display. Prioritise these any way you like, but had the existing regulations been effectively applied to any one of them, we would not have had this incident.
- The investigation has not provided a convincing or ( in my view at least) credible outcome. For example, The apparent power deficit during the fateful climb and the evidence regarding the fuel pump diaphragm were staring them in the face, yet they chose to ascribe a conclusion to Rolls Royces analysis which Rolls Royce themselves had avoided.
Also, how come the traffic lights weren’t set to Green as had been mandated? If the traffic hadn’t been queuing, it seems highly likely that fewer lives would have been lost. Why is this not properly developed as a theme?
- The Coroners conclusion regarding the victims being “unlawfully killed” verges on the Kafka-esque. A moments consideration of the facts by primary school pupils would lead to that conclusion. Leaving aside there isn’t a verdict of being “lawfully killed” , the tragic victims obviously did nothing to warrant what transpired. Ignoring some of the directly pertinent evidence to arrive at such an arcane verdict does little to enhance the credibility of the process, and I fear will provide little enduring comfort for the relatives of the deceased.

The existing system could and should have prevented this incident, and made its consequences less severe. None of those who presided over or were directly responsible for the failure to implement it have been held to account. I’m sure the various changes which have been introduced can make things safer still, but ONLY IF THEY ARE ACTUALLY APPLIED. Where does the confidence that they will be come from?
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