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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

Old 8th Mar 2019, 17:49
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Originally Posted by Treble one

Judge Edis told the jury that it must decide if the prosecution had proved cognitive impairment had not affected Mr Hill during the flight.
I have been making this point to a number of my non-aviation friends, who have asked my opinion of the verdict. The reality is that having set the threshold this high it would have been virtually impossible for the prosecution to have persuaded 10 of the remaining 11 jurors beyond reasonable doubt that cognitive impairment had not affected the pilot.

I do, however, have a personal problem with the use of cognitive impairment as a defence. In my own experience (20+ years of domestic and international aerobatic competition and display flying - all piston engine singles) I have suffered from cognitive impairment in different forms on a number of occasions and witnessed it on many more. For me this has ranged from "black out" (often wrongly confused with G-LOC) - where all vision is lost but you have the remaining four sense intact - through to complete loss of consciousness. In the case of the former, vision is normally restored after a few seconds provided the G loading is reduced through elevator input. In the case of the latter, which happened to me after an aggressive "sleeper" combination (high negative G figures followed immediately by high positive G), the stick is always released as it is "loaded" by reason of the positive G. What happens next depends on how the aircraft is trimmed, how quickly the pilot wakes up...and how high you are.

My difficulty is this: you only push the envelope, which was when I had my own impairment experiences, at altitude in as safe an environment as possible. This does not include low level, public aerobatic displays.

As pilot in command we all accept that we have responsibility for the safe undertaking of any flight. As aerobatic pilots we are acutely aware of the risks we are exposing both ourselves and others to. This includes the risk of cognitive impairment whether caused by poor sequence design, poor execution, physical condition (which may include lack of current G tolerance) or state of mind. If there is any doubt at all about anything you are doing in this context, you simply don't do it. Or accept the consequences.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 17:56
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Right or wrong verdict? I cannot believe that the verdict will in anyway will be seen as justice by the families and friends of those that died.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 18:24
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Am I correct to think that the "cognitive impairment" argument is the point that carried the not-guilty decision? Or, is it possible that the jury decided the case on other grounds, including the lay opinion that "crashing during a display" would never be gross negligence?


OAP
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 18:27
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Originally Posted by Super VC-10
Out of interest, when was the last time a civil aviation accident in the UK resulted in a convction?
That's easy, last month.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 18:39
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Originally Posted by The Nip


Yes because it takes away responsibility.
I would have said the presumption of responsibility...but yeah...that.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 18:44
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Originally Posted by gpbeck
Court Report:


Hill, speaking for the first time since the crash, said: 'I can't recall G-LOC being part of formal aircraft training either way.

'We were aware that there was a phenomenon called G-LOC, quite how I came to be aware of it I don't know.'

Mr Khalil asked him: 'Was cognitive impairment in use when you were training in the RAF?'

Hill, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and dark blue tie, replied: 'Not at all.'


Wonder what those funny blow up trousers are for!
When were we first made aware of G-LOC?

Affects of G, yes, grey-out, yes, black-out yes. Use of G-pants, yes. G-LOC as a term, I don't know. Straining, yes, but I don't recall that back in the 60s.

The precise point is he may never have heard the term despite receiving training in G.


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Old 8th Mar 2019, 18:58
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Originally Posted by Onceapilot
Am I correct to think that the "cognitive impairment" argument is the point that carried the not-guilty decision? Or, is it possible that the jury decided the case on other grounds, including the lay opinion that "crashing during a display" would never be gross negligence?
You will never know.

Jury deliberations are considered secret, even after a trial has ended.

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Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:14
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Originally Posted by Onceapilot
Am I correct to think that the "cognitive impairment" argument is the point that carried the not-guilty decision? Or, is it possible that the jury decided the case on other grounds, including the lay opinion that "crashing during a display" would never be gross negligence?


OAP
Juries are not required to give reasons for an acquital. No-one, other than the 11 jurors in this case, will know either the reasoning they used, the evidence they accepted or whether the decision was unanimous or a majority verdict.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:22
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Originally Posted by Onceapilot
Am I correct to think that the "cognitive impairment" argument is the point that carried the not-guilty decision? Or, is it possible that the jury decided the case on other grounds, including the lay opinion that "crashing during a display" would never be gross negligence?


OAP
Judge Edis told the jury that it must decide if the prosecution had proved cognitive impairment had not affected Mr Hill during the flight. "You have heard a great deal of evidence from Mr Hill, onlookers and experts to explain what took place," he said. "It is for you to decide what of that evidence you find helpful and persuasive and what you find unconvincing."

So the Judge made it about cognitive impairment
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:36
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator
When were we first made aware of G-LOC?

Affects of G, yes, grey-out, yes, black-out yes. Use of G-pants, yes. G-LOC as a term, I don't know. Straining, yes, but I don't recall that back in the 60s.

The precise point is he may never have heard the term despite receiving training in G.

Hi Pontious, as I recall, G-LOC came into general Av Med training around 1990,..but I might be mistaken?

OAP
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:52
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Originally Posted by Treble one
Judge Edis told the jury that it must decide if the prosecution had proved cognitive impairment had not affected Mr Hill during the flight. "You have heard a great deal of evidence from Mr Hill, onlookers and experts to explain what took place," he said. "It is for you to decide what of that evidence you find helpful and persuasive and what you find unconvincing."

So the Judge made it about cognitive impairment
Yes, this is interesting Trembles.......I believe Andy Hill describes having no recollection of the events, so simply agreeing in court that he would not have aimed to fly the manoeuvre at the wrong parameters would imply (rightly or wrongly) that he was impaired, despite the fact that he has no recollection and seemed to have little knowledge of the safety gates and recovery proceedure.

OAP
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:52
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A few have posted that Hill has to live with the thoughts of those he killed for the rest of his life. Well I donít give two hoots about that, it is the families of those that perished that I truly feel sorry for as they will have equally long lives to remember those poor people.

I also think the Law is an ass in these types of instances - prosecution seems so very rare when it is quite obvious that they have negligently done things. So it seems you can arrive too low, fly a bent loop without making your gate height and then wipe out 11 souls and injure others on a main road. You can also knock off a trooperís head with with the ramp and antenna of your transport aircraft and also get away with it. Or you can break someoneís back and injure others whilst you fiddle with your seat and your camera jams the controls, then apparently try to cover it up, and then be acquitted. But only if you fly a helicopter recklessly and kill your co-pilot, crewman and one of your Army passengers can you expect to be prosecuted. If the helicopter pilot had claimed ďcognitive impairmentĒ in the last seconds would he have got away with it?

Whilst I agree that the Law was upheld today, I fear that Justice was not. I look forward to reading what the Coroner finds.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:58
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Originally Posted by Whipstall
Juries are not required to give reasons for an acquital. No-one, other than the 11 jurors in this case, will know either the reasoning they used, the evidence they accepted or whether the decision was unanimous or a majority verdict.
It was a unanimous verdict. That fact is stated in open court and is not considered confidential.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:03
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14,000+ hours is a lot of experience, not only operating civilian aircraft in the civil aviation world but also continuing to fly military type aircraft and displaying them.

Years in the "seat" plus knowing your own personal parameters and the aircraft capability you are flying, gives the experienced pilot a prior sense of a situation that if not corrected at that time could become a bigger problem later. Most of the time a minor "correction" applied at the time nullifies any future problem.

100 knots at the top of a loop at 2,600' in a Hunter. Applying the thought of the sentence above, when did the cognitive impairment take place?
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:12
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LJ

Itís interesting that you drew parallels with the Voyager incident because I thought the same thing.

As pilots I donít believe we should automatically close ranks and defend Ďone of our owní every time.

Iím sure the jury reached the correct verdict on the strength of the evidence prevented but I still cannot excuse the actions of Andy Hill.

From my perspective, I am a current and pretty experienced Hawk pilot (2500+ hours on type). If someone asked me to perform a low level aerobatics routine tomorrow I would say no way. I fly aerobatic type manoeuvres (along with weapons, BFM, low level etc) on a daily basis in my job and I would not want, or expect, to go and fly the kind of manoeuvres he flew on that fateful day. Added to that, the fit of the aircraft was unfamiliar (I have flown Hawks in pretty much every conceivable fit including the heavier configurations) so, by comparison, if someone said ďhey, BV, go take that Hawk with drop tanks and fly a low level display in front of thousands of peopleĒ I wouldnít dream of it.

For the life of me I canít work out why so many people want to excuse his actions.

I donít know how I think he should be punished, since it hasnít affected me directly, but I donít think he should get off Scott free and I donít think you can lay the entirety of the blame with the CAA.

Obviously many of you will disagree with me but such is life.

BV
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:14
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Are there any Big Brains out there who could describe how Cognative Impairment offering could ever be disproved.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:17
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Originally Posted by Onceapilot
Hi Pontious, as I recall, G-LOC came into general Av Med training around 1990,..but I might be mistaken?

OAP
Which means that someone who left military could state accurately that they had not been trained in G-Loc. If phrased differently I think it would be very difficult to deny know if the effects of G.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:26
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Brian - please stop playing the man and play the ball

the main issue here is the standard of evidence required for a conviction. If you cannot prove fault conclusively and culpable actions then it will always end up this way.

there are two options

1. The standard gets lowered and accidents stop and everything becomes blame and claim

2. Accept that Andy will always have this on his mind and that is probably worse than any sentence that can be given.

I drove by Shoreham the morning of the show and there where signs everywhere on the road saying no spectating and airshows are dangerous. That does not excuse the lose of life on the road, but there where needles casualties because the law was also ingnored. Not popular I know but it is a fact

Anyway any of these are are not the best outcomes in finding an answer. Letís hope everyone learns and piss poor prep etc ad Infinitum

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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:30
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Originally Posted by Cows getting bigger
Are there any Big Brains out there who could describe how Cognative Impairment offering could ever be disproved.
I probably have more awareness of the meaning of G-Loc than CI.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:34
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How many posters in this thread have flown a Hunter and experienced the startle effect of the anti-G system running out of air? I don't know whether Andy Hill wore an anti-G suit for his displays, but I recall once pulling off a strafe run at Pembrey (around 100' agl) when the anti-G ran out of puff. You suddenly experience unexpected grey-out and for a brief moment wonder WTF has happened...

Not so in the Hawk, which had a bleed air anti-G system, as did the Gnat.

G-LOC was not briefed in my fast jet training days (last time being 1980), involving quite a few aircraft type training courses at North Luffenham, whereas grey out and black out certainly were.

This article https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightP...20-%201585.PDF which concerns Jim Hawkins' fatal Hawk 200 accident, gives an excellent account of the effects of G-LOC. I suspect that AMTC started including G-LOC in its Ruddles appreciation courses following this accident in 1986.
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