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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

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Shoreham Airshow Crash Trial

Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:34
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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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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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:46
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Treble one View Post
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.
Er no, it was about cognitive impairment because that was the basis of the defence case.

The judge was simply doing his job - explaining to the jury what the law was in relation to that and, consequently, what it was that they had to decide in reaching a verdict.

A more valid criticism of the judge would be if he had failed to allow in his summing up for the possibility that g-induced cognitive impairment was a consequence rather than a cause of the badly-performed loop. You would need to ask someone who was in court whether that was the case.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:51
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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AH was flying high intensity low level aeros in a public arena in a high performance swept wing jet that he had less than 40 hrs total time on type, spread over the last 5 years. He left the RAF and regular service FJ flying 13 years previously, during that time for the day job he "flew" a FBW passenger plane, he had also regularly flown a lighweight single-prop for display flying over a prolonged period, his current cat G DA was attained (lawfully) by performing a "tail chase" routine as one of a pair of JPs yet that same DA was deemed sufficient for him to perform high energy public displays in a Hunter, the A27 was a known risk at the venue (I'm pretty sure the Reds struck it off their list of approved venues some time ago for that reason), some of the key rules and regs were unclear / not adhered to, e.g. "guidance concerning the minimum height at which aerobatic manoeuvres may be commenced is not applied consistently and may be unclear", "Training and assessment procedures in place at the time of the accident did not prepare the pilot fully for the conduct of relevant escape manoeuvres in the Hunter" (quotes from AAIB reports), he was potentially flying an unbriefed (but still perfectly legal) display routine, he's not that young, it was the hottest day of the year. How many more holes in the cheese do you want?

This discussion shouldnt be about legal mumbo jumbo, this was a failure of "the system", plain and simple for all to see. AH has had his time in the spotlight, rightly so, whilst the faceless bureacrats that allowed this tragedy to unfold just get off scot free.

Just my opinion of course.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:57
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Er no, it was about cognitive impairment because that was the basis of the defence case.

The judge was simply doing his job - explaining to the jury what the law was in relation to that and, consequently, what it was that they had to decide in reaching a verdict.

A more valid criticism of the judge would be if he had failed to allow in his summing up for the possibility that g-induced cognitive impairment was a consequence rather than a cause of the badly-performed loop. You would need to ask someone who was in court whether that was the case.
Dave I agree. When did this cognitive impairment begin? Before he took off? On his way to the show? At the start of the display? At the top of his loop? On the way down?

So when did it happen? Know one knows because no one knows if it happened or not. Theres no evidence it did. But more importantly, no one can prove it didnt either.

A blinder from the defence team.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:59
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
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...
Read the AAIB report Beagle, says he was wearing them and aircraft was equipped. Also, the target G for the pup into the loop from the report is approx 4G, not very much. BTW, you might want to revisit your G tolerance training, you should have been quite capable of a strafe recovery w/o turning trousers, you brace into the loading not relying on the troos!

OAP
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 21:05
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
It’s interesting that you drew parallels with the Voyager incident because I thought the same thing.

As pilots I don’t believe we should automatically close ranks and defend ‘one of our own’ every time.

I’m 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 “hey, BV, go take that Hawk with drop tanks and fly a low level display in front of thousands of people” I wouldn’t dream of it.

For the life of me I can’t work out why so many people want to excuse his actions.

I don’t know how I think he should be punished, since it hasn’t affected me directly, but I don’t think he should get off Scott free and I don’t 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
Bob - AH obviously loved flying, that seems clear to me - in one form or another he had devoted his whole life to it. What's less clear is why he deemed some of the things he did tha day acceptable - I agree with you there.

However, Shoreham was a result of a set of circumstances that led to a tragedy (that involved AH), for which the warning signs that this type of thing could happen had been been there for some time, years in fact. Most fundamentally the whole DA process was woefully inadequate to cope with the increasing use of "vintage" (but high performance) jets being flown by ex-mil, or never mil, or otherwise part time jet jocks, with a system in place where you could basically get your mate to sign off your DA for you by performing a routine of sorts in a totally differnt aeroplane. You were then free to go out and ply your trade in front of thousands of people in high performance swept wing jets like the Gnat and Hunter with appaling low levels of currency and total time on type. It was a regulatory disaster zone with wholly inadequate oversight, checks and balances.

None of the above was solely down to AH - different day, different jet, different pilot, different venue with potentially the same result but for the grace of God as the saying goes. It just so happened it turned out to be AH when the luck ran out
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 21:10
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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IIRC G-Loc (Gravity induced loss of consciousness) and Cognitive Impairment where two terms introduced during the late 1980's/early 90's when rules and a better understanding around the subject of "Human Factors" were being established/revised. At that time I was a member of the Applied Psychology Dept. of the College of Space and Aeronautics at Cranfield Institute of Technology and was involved on the periphery of the discussions. Which I might add were at times quite heated and particularly over the term Cognitive Impairment (CI). This was because I seem to remember CI was seen as a bucket term to cover many different physical/mental conditions which could affect the efficiency of a pilot to function effectively.

IIRC the whole of this programme was under the auspices of the CAA rather than the RAF but I could be wrong.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 21:57
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by andrewn View Post
Bob - AH obviously loved flying, that seems clear to me - in one form or another he had devoted his whole life to it. What's less clear is why he deemed some of the things he did tha day acceptable - I agree with you there.

However, Shoreham was a result of a set of circumstances that led to a tragedy (that involved AH), for which the warning signs that this type of thing could happen had been been there for some time, years in fact. Most fundamentally the whole DA process was woefully inadequate to cope with the increasing use of "vintage" (but high performance) jets being flown by ex-mil, or never mil, or otherwise part time jet jocks, with a system in place where you could basically get your mate to sign off your DA for you by performing a routine of sorts in a totally differnt aeroplane. You were then free to go out and ply your trade in front of thousands of people in high performance swept wing jets like the Gnat and Hunter with appaling low levels of currency and total time on type. It was a regulatory disaster zone with wholly inadequate oversight, checks and balances.

None of the above was solely down to AH - different day, different jet, different pilot, different venue with potentially the same result but for the grace of God as the saying goes. It just so happened it turned out to be AH when the luck ran out
I know BV and have known him shout out the words "Come on Boss, Hard at Us!" I filmed what he was shouting at. He is totally correct in his opinions IMHO. The CAA has never been a Campaign Against Aviation, far from it. A intermediate ex military jet crashed 3 weeks before AH in a very public accident. I spoke to a FJ mate whom knew the fellow involved and he made his opinions clear. CAA have been chopped at in the age of austerity, the experts are leaving because their T and C are being killed. This field was ignored as the pot will go so far. What it proves is the usual story that self regulation gets abused. And innocent die because of it. Oh, the hertiage jets bloke on the BBC as well. The sport of kings he says on his bio. He is not a professional pilot BTW.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 22:02
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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For Me, The impairment defence is 'impaired' in itself for the following reasons:

AH was described and proposed as an Experienced (Ex) RAF Fighter Pilot (Harrier) and Instructor (JP3/5) RAF-1984/1996; as such, he should have been easily able to display a:

1. Good understanding of the effects of 'G' and other in cockpit physical effects (Hypoxia etc). Irrespective of terminology.
2. Proper understanding of aircraft performance under manoeuvre, relating to aerobatics: Base Ht, Top Ht, Min Spd, Max G, AUW etc and everything else in the ODM (or PDM as it is today)
3. Concepts such as 'Stall', 'G' Stall, 'Wing' Drop etc, (and, if an Instructor, be able to explain them and describe Recovery Actions.)
4. Integrity.

I personally think the defence won, against all of these.

Advo
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 22:06
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Bob Viking
Exactly right mate!! Well said. Mr Hill had 40 hours on type and was cleared by someone (?) in the CAA to do low level aeros in front of thousands?? Really??

Must've been that good old "get out of jail" card - "cognitive impairment."
What should AH have got?? A couple of years inside IMHO.
Anyway - he has his own demons to deal with as have all the Families of the people he so needlessly killed. RIP of course.
ANDREWN Good points also. Who was it who authorised AH to fly low level displays on 3 completely different types of aircraft whilst he was a BA captain on the 4th type? Did they think the guy was some kind of aviation genius???

Last edited by Arfur Dent; 8th Mar 2019 at 22:16.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 22:23
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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I am not going to get into debates with people, many of whom appear know much more about the case than me, despite not having read any of the evidence, expert reports etc nor having sat through about seven or so weeks of that evidence being given in court. However, I am going to provide some information about the evidence. AH never claimed that he knew that he suffered from cognitive impairment. He remembers nothing about the accident and the fact that he suffered amnesia was never challenged by the prosecution. It would not be surprising bearing in mind the nature of the accident, injuries he sustained and his treatment (given Ketamine at the scene a known side effect of which is amnesia). In researching potential causes of the accident (and the 'cascade' of errors as descibed by a Human Performance Factors expert) issues of cognitive impairment were looked into (as indeed they were by the AAIB). The case was never about A-LOC or G-LOC, although that was all that was considered by the AAIB; neither defence nor prosecution experts said such had or may have occurred. However, there is a potential area of impairment below this. It is not widely known but involves relatively low levels of Gz that do not prevent blood circulation to the brain but do involve a reduction of oxygenation to the blood. The physiology is interesting. Gz straining involves muscles consuming more oxygen thus depleting the normal amount in the blood. G suits restrict the diaphragm reducing lung expansion. Low levels of Gz have a pooling effect in the lungs which, coupled with the diaphragm issue, results in less oxygenation of the blood in the lungs. This in turn results in a de-saturation of oxygen in the blood that continues circulating. The subject can continue to function, particularly with regard to learnt motor skills, but has reduces judgement and the ability to deal with abnormal situations. This was the evidence presented from eminently qualified experts by the defence and was the issue in the case.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 22:41
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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The very nature of trial by jury ensures that some verdicts are unexpected, and some unpopular. Yes I too am uneasy about the case and the verdict.

Talk of retrial, as indeed of a second referendum on Brexit ,is deeply disturbing to this old-fashioned democrat. The idea that we should keep asking a question until we get the answer that we want is corrosive.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 22:46
  #133 (permalink)  

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It would seem to me that several posters in this thread are placing themselves at risk of legal action.....

Cognitive impairment could have taken place during the pull up into the manoeuvre. The AAIB report mentions unusual throttle movements at that point. AH would normally have slammed the throttle fully open there, not moved it randomly.

A great pity that some cannot agree with the verdict or see the wider implications for aviation in general had he been found guilty.

Amnesia is a well-known side-effect of being placed in a coma, which I believe is what happened to AH.

Last edited by overstress; 8th Mar 2019 at 23:01.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 22:47
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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First of all, I’m no expert in low level display flying, and it’s been a good 20 years since I was last sat in a seat that went bang.
With whats being said, I have to ask myself what did some of you want/expect from the criminal case? It seems abundantly clear to me that for some nothing short of a hung drawn and quartered outcome will suffice.
Is this really the way you want this resolved? I don’t know AH personally, I’ve never come across him in civvy or mil life, but what is obvious to me is no punishment meted out by the victims families or the courts would even come close to his own personal hell.
We have all at some point been in a position to fall foul of physiology and physics, we are all imperfect and yes...we make mistakes.
The criminal process might be flawed but it is the process you all live by, if you can’t accept that then by all means get it changed.
Trying to prove gross negligence was the CPS playing the blame game when really we need to be in the prevention game, moreover I suspect that some of you would have preferred AH to have perished along with the 11 other unfortunate souls that day to make it a lot simpler and cleaner to apportion responsibility
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 23:18
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Parson View Post
Brian W May - "jury that knows diddly squat about flying". What do you want then? A jury of a dozen Hunter display pilots? More likely to convict? Hardly. It is precisely because they know little about flying that they were on the jury. That's how the legal system works.
Exactly so..

The jury system is to have a body whose composition is representative of society in its broadest sense and able to judge a defendant as a peer. A jury is not required to have any knowledge specific to the action being heard; it's almost certainly better off without it. I think it would be very easy for a juror with some understanding of basic aeros to think "Mr Hill should have realised he was too low to complete the loop and therefore should have rolled off the top" or whatever. This is facile thinking, possibly to dismiss such expert evidence as might have been presented.and would be a classic example of a little knowledge . . .

It is the function of the advocates to provide the evidence and arguments to support their contentions in a manner easily understood by a layman. All the jury has to do is weigh those arguments and deliver a verdict; specialist knowledge is neither required nor necessary and there is no reason to suppose that this jury has done anything different. That this particular judgement might not sit easily with many (including me) perhaps is understandable, but as Parson suggests, that's how the system works.

Last edited by Gipsy Queen; 8th Mar 2019 at 23:43.
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Old 8th Mar 2019, 23:36
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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The jury's hands were tied. By the true definition of involuntary manslaughter they were forced to make a binary decision.
I am however, confused by their decision not to find him guilty of recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft et al.....

Andy Hill is/was the focal point of everything that was wrong with air shows in those days:
Appalling standards within the display authorisation world. (DA's).
Slack or absent governance by Flying Control Committees.
Complacency by FDD's and Accountable Managers.
Incompetent supervision by the CAA.

Some or all of these ingredients were present on that fateful day.

Victims need someone to blame - it's part of the grieving process. Given time and understanding, I hope they will come to terms with the result. AH didn't set out that day to cause harm, he may have been in the wrong place, at the wrong speed, at the wrong height - but he didn't do it malice aforethought.

We now turn to the inquest to seek "justice" for those still confused and frustrated - to add another piece to the jigsaw. The "system" was to blame and since the accident, the system has tried to heal itself. Pilots are better authorised, FDD's better trained and qualified, FCC's better briefed, Accountable managers more risk aware...I fear the CAA still has to complete that journey, however.
Progress has been made, airshows are much safer, it's not totally in vain that 11 innocent people died that day. It is just very very sad that it had to end this way.
RiP.

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Old 9th Mar 2019, 00:05
  #137 (permalink)  
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I wonder if the 1952 Farnborough show accident had any precedent to the defence and any submissions made that accidents do happen ?
It was back then, treated by all as a tragic accident. Different times of course.
I pulled James Hamilton-Paterson's, Empire of the Clouds off the bookcase intending to mention something that had stuck in my mind for many years. Death at Farnborough, an early chapter, I knew said something about how we seemed to accept disaster, accept our pain, when it was in the nation's interest. I was again transported, gripped by the imagery, but at the same time becoming aware it would be inappropriate to make comparisons with those "different times" while discussing a specific case. But perhaps just a few words, mine, not direct quotes.

Derry's widow, for less than 60 seconds, said quietly, There is no hope, is there?' The next flights were initiated while people, dead and near to dead were still being carted away.

Nearly 70 years of determined improvement to safety, yet still lives are lost. Modern science and engineering should bring us at least close to perfect safety, but it seems the human factor is still a wild card. The rate of attrition in early test pilots was bewildering, yet the chaps kept coming forward to get the job done. It's in the nature of the man.

I don't think it's possible to make comparisons, and then judge, on a level playing field, people who devote their lives to exceptional tasks. Yes, laws are made, and laws are made for good reason, but unfortunately the law is formed in the same mould for all men. We wouldn't have an aviation industry, or an air force if it wasn't for the very different nature of that type of pilot. I'll avoid the arguments about modern civil pilots and the magenta line.

Rules, and free spirit. I was surprised, to say the least, when I recently read a biography of Sir Frank Whittle. I never imagined him being so spirited. It was made quite clear that he got off one charge because 'they were looking for the kind of person that took risks.'

Every day, thousands of aircraft overfly huge cities, yet we know a 777 landed dead stick with little prior knowledge of that systems danger. Can we carry on subjecting thousands of people to this kind of risk?

I can not conclude this post demonstrating any sound logic. It's not possible. We can't allow the slaughter of innocent people, yet we can't let our national spirit be strangled by rules that are aimed at perfect safety.
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Old 9th Mar 2019, 04:27
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Thomas coupling View Post
The jury's hands were tied. By the true definition of involuntary manslaughter they were forced to make a binary decision.
I am however, confused by their decision not to find him guilty of recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft et al.....
That charge was not put before the jury. Mr Justice Edis formally acquitted him.
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Old 9th Mar 2019, 04:46
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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We are all talking about cognitive impairment. So are we referring to cognitive impairment due to spatial disorientation? If so this is a subject of a few experiments and papers from the beginning of this century but it appears that it was able to be overcome by regular exposure to the causes I. e. repeated exposure to the manoeuvres of a display sequence etc.
​​​​​​Or is this a different type of cognitive impairment, due to fatigue or some other cause?
Was this established in the trial?
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Old 9th Mar 2019, 05:12
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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The Inquest will be interesting as the Lord Chief Justice has previously directed that Coroners may not re-open investigations conducted by (eg) AAIB unless they have reason (evidence) that the specialist investigation was fundamentally flawed or incomplete.

That ruling resulted from the Norfolk Coronerís demand that the AAIB released the CVR/FDR to her as part of the Inquest into the AW139 accident (Lord Ballyedmond).
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