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-   -   Hawker Hunter Crash at Shoreham Airshow (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/566533-hawker-hunter-crash-shoreham-airshow.html)

Homelover 23rd Aug 2015 11:35

Clockwork Mouse.

you can display oversea. Coastal displays like Lowestoft and South Shields might be the way these guys can continue, if people still want to watch them. Of course, it's tricky displaying oversea, so they might crash a few more, but at least there's less risk to innocent bystanders.

Tourist 23rd Aug 2015 11:44

Originally Posted by ExRAFRadar (Post 9091962)

Tell that to the families of the people who died while simply going from a to b on the A27

I'm trying to think of any activity that doesn't have the potential to impact the lives of others.

If I drive to the seaside and have a puncture I might swerve into the way of another car.

When I go on holiday flying with a Middle Eastern airline I am tacitly supporting regimes with appalling human rights records.

When I buy clothes I support sweatshops in China.

Where do you stop?

In this life everything we do has an effect on others.

Crashes at airshows would not even show up on a chart of the top 1000 things we do every day that negatively affect others, so why the gnashing?

I think it is just because it is good telly and the 24hr rolling news make it into a big thing.

strake 23rd Aug 2015 11:58

If there are people with correct experience who wish to fly vintage aircraft and people who wish to attend airshows (me included) then both have a prerequisite to accept the potential for danger.

However, these victims were not at an airshow. They were driving along the road. I'm struggling to find the difference for the families, between the Edinburgh dustbin lorry accident and this. Both completely 'innocent' groups of people.

Romeo Oscar Golf 23rd Aug 2015 12:01

Homelover said

in case you're not too sharp ROG, aircraft are more likely to crash when they are deliberately pointed at the ground at low altitude. Like during air displays.
Based on statistical evidence? You are wrong of course.....a brief glance at aircraft accident statistics would prove that.

Aircraft which are "deliberately pointed at the ground at low altitude" (I think you mean level or height) are likely to have a pilot in control who knows what he or she is doing and has practiced long and hard under close supervision at higher altitudes until the routine is perfected.

Romeo Oscar Golf 23rd Aug 2015 12:16

Strake, I believe there is a major difference between the two tragedies (it was Glasgow btw and my son and g'son were there-I'd suggested it was a good day out).The difference is about the drivers concerned and their suitability to be there.
However for those killed and their families both were devastating tragedies .. and they will demand answers as to how and why it happened and what will be done to prevent it happening in the future. It is their right to ask these questions and I suspect the Glasgow tragedy will be easier to resolve than Shoreham.
Like many others have said I think future Air Displays will be considerably different to those we enjoy at present. Probably a good thing.

Tourist 23rd Aug 2015 12:25


I can see many differences. Negligence being one.

Everything we do carries risk.

The evidence shows that the risk from airshows is tiny.

Even 1 in 1000000000 chances happen occasionally.

A huge proportion of motorbike rides are purely for the entertainment of the rider. When a motorbike hits a pedestrian, they are innocent too. Do we ban bikes?

When a cricket ball/baseball flies into the crowd, occasionally someone gets hurt.
Ban Cricket?

Everyone is going to die.

That is unavoidable

Every death we delay by banning something merely adds to the death toll from something else.

You might, quite reasonably, say that at least we have extended the life a bit.

My answer would be that be what is the point in living longer if you have banned all the fun things?

I don't believe, as many seem to at present, that the goal of life should be to persist as long as possible.

Ogre 23rd Aug 2015 12:31


Concur completely. Everything we do has a risk associated with it, it's just that we tend to ignore the risks that are "statistically" negligible because the probability of it occurring are very, very, very, very low.


Sorry mate, but the chance of getting hit by an aircraft is always there as long as you are under an aircraft, but the average human looks at the numbers and says "that'll never happen". There is no such thing as "absolutely safe", just a level of safety that acceptable to you.

How many people die on our roads every day when they were just popping down to the shops / into the office / visiting someone? Yet we still drive cars.

I feel sorrow that this event happened, my thoughts are with everyone involved, from the pilot and the groundcrew and the staff who organised the event, to the passersby who died, and the emergency services who attended. However, I would not call for a ban on flying displays, just like I would not call for a ban on motor racing, hang gliding, or anything else that people do for a bit of excitement which ultimately could kill the participant and anyone around them.

frg7700 23rd Aug 2015 12:50

Outside of some folk who have been tagged as having slightly, controversial, shall we say? Opinions. Nobody is seriously suggesting banning air displays.

They are suggesting taking a long, hard look at the what, how, and where of air displays. Something which given yesterday's events is just about inevitable.

I'd be very careful about talk of being "proportional" too. You'd be surprised how people can view getting jollies vice not causing violent death in proportion. Particularly for something which is by and large a niche interest.

Roland Pulfrew 23rd Aug 2015 13:04

Do some of you seriously think that this sort of risk is acceptable in the modern age?

It presently doesn't add up in favour of safety of the public
Really? In 2014 there were 1713 people killed on the UK's roads. How many died at UK air shows?

Lima Juliet 23rd Aug 2015 13:26

And how many people go to airshows compared to driving on the roads Roland? Indeed your choice of stastics is quite unfortunate as at least 7 more people have died 'on the roads' thanks to a seemingly poorly thought through display area.

Recently when I was Display Director at an airshow I ended up paying 800 to close a small country road that ran through the main display axes. We also closed a public footpath. Both myself and my Flying Control Committee thought that the risk was too great and that by not having one less display aircraft and spending that 800 then we were truly not ALARP. It would be interesting to see Shoreham's risk assessment on the A27 and why they thought that flying high energy low-level manoeuvres over it was ok. Now that is with hindsight, but there are an awful lot of displays that seem to have similar groups of people and vehicles close to the display area - Waddington with the A15 and Fairford with the plethora of car parks and camp sites come to mind.

I don't think Airshows should stop or that vintage jets should be banned, but I do believe that a rethink following this tragedy is required. In 1952 Mr Duncan Sandys led a Public Inquiry when 30-odd were killed at Farnborough - I suspect we will be having the same. But that's common in aviation safety, we constantly strive to learn to be wise for the future - that's what we do...


TaranisAttack 23rd Aug 2015 13:35

@Roland Pulfrew
Deaths at UK airshows in 2015? Uhh 7.

According to Wikipedia:
2015: 7 (shoreham)
2014: 0
2013: 0
2012: 1 (de Havilland DH.53, Bedfordshire). Only fatality was the pilot
2011: 1 (Red Arrows, Bournemouth). Only fatality was the pilot

So in the last 5 years there were 8, that is 1.6 deaths per year.

Causes of death in the UK
Malaise and fatigue: 265 deaths
Hanging: 2,011
Self Harm: 3,377
Motorbike accidents: 347
Falling: 3,649
According to this document:

charliegolf 23rd Aug 2015 13:42

You missed the Gnat. Miss any others? And your numbers add to 9, not 8.

orca 23rd Aug 2015 13:43

I concur entirely with Leon. I remember from my brief sojourn on the display circuit that there were many restrictions for distance from the crowd depending on speed and closing vector - it seemed incoherent to me at the time that those who had paid to watch an air show were thus protected whilst those that sat in a nearby field (cue Pprune indignation at ticket evasion), those who lived nearby and those simply going about their business were not to the same degree. Not that conurbations and roads weren't pointed out and avoided as much as possible of course.

wrt fatalities Is 9 low or high? Some would go for low, I would argue that 1 is too high.

strake 23rd Aug 2015 13:44

I see the responses but if I were a member of the families involved, it's not a tragedy, it's an outrage.
How can it be acceptable that a relative, who I waved goodbye to this morning, is killed by an aircraft from an airshow - while they are driving to work, play or otherwise while not connected to the event?
The fact is, for whatever reason, people who enjoy their sport/hobby as pilot's or organisers have killed innocent people.

roving 23rd Aug 2015 13:46

I cannot see what relevance accident statistics on UK roads have to do with accident statistics at privately hosted air displays. A better comparison would be between air displays and F1 racing.

My late father, a QFI rated 'exceptional', between operational tours flew in RAF air displays in the late 1940's and was a University Air Squadron instructor in the early 1950's, at a time when these Squadrons competed in Air displays.

There is an important difference between RAF pilots and students performing aerobatics as part of their training and retired RAF pilots engaging in aerobatics at public events, the sole intention of which is to entertain.

barnstormer1968 23rd Aug 2015 13:54


Your stats are actually very interesting, and do show that the air show you mention is quite dangerous as far as stats go IMHO.

Although your stats show several years worth of air show fatalities, it's worth remembering they only concern a very very small number of people, and only for a few hours per year, and very few of the people concerned are in a work environment (where most accidents happen) or driving (another large accident group)

I'm not sure how trying to compare that to another group containing over 60.000.000 million people 24 hours per day for 365 days is 'apples and oranges' :)

TaranisAttack 23rd Aug 2015 13:55

Thanks! My info was based on this:

Fluffy Bunny 23rd Aug 2015 13:57

The comparisons are being made, because, the aircraft did not come down within the airfield boundary. It ploughed through traffic on a very busy bit of the public highway. In many peoples views this, although it involves an aircraft, it is a high casualty RTC.

The Old Fat One 23rd Aug 2015 14:01

Some of the crassly stupid comments regarding the comparative risks of undertaking various different activities look like they could have been written by a four year old.

Maybe one or two of you should go and seek out an insurance underwriter and ask to sit down for an hour or two and have them explain their life expectancy tables...it might give you a slightly more educated view of risk.

...and as various sensible head s have commented, most are not seeking internet controversy by demanding all airshows are banned (OK a few are, but they are easily ignored). Most are merely pointing out that beautiful, vintage, aircraft can be beautifully displayed without the need for low level aerobatics.

I fail to see any sort of repression of freedom in that suggestion...only profound common sense and reasoned logic.

Satellite_Driver 23rd Aug 2015 14:05

If you look at statistics for bystanders killed at UK airshows, then the figures are even starker: 29 in 1952 (the Farnborough DH.110 crash) then zero every year since until now.

However, statistical comparisons are not the end of the matter, as an important factor is how such risks are perceived.

I'll note now that I'm not a pilot (and my flying experience is limited to 25 hours on Bulldogs a quarter of a century ago, and two trips in a JP5 at Cranditz not much later.) But I was an RAF engineering officer, and I'm now a barrister. In both jobs I've had to deal with risk assessment, and as a lawyer I have to look at the questions of how extensive a duty of care to others is in particular circumstances and what constitutes a breach of that duty.

I think it's fair to say that people as a whole are more willing to accept risk if they have some control, or even some perceived level of control, over it. Driving is one of the more dangerous activities most people do, but by and large we accept the risk because of (a) the benefit to ourselves and (b) the feeling that it's a risk we in part control. I'd suggest that's why public transport accidents attract far more publicity than the general run of road accidents; when we get on a train, we are accepting a risk that is entirely controlled by someone else.

In short, there is a hierarchy of risk acceptance:

1) Risks we take because we get a benefit from them, and which we believe are at least partly under our control (e.g. driving, sports.)

2) Risks we take because we get a benefit from them, but where the risk factors are under the control of others (e.g. public transport, surgical procedures.)

3) Risks we do not chose to take and which are not under our control.

The third category particularly vexes people because we can't avoid them and we have no control over them. As such they concern people out of proportion to the actual risk involved. Examples include terrorism, nuclear accidents and the like.

Returning to the matter at hand, if you are displaying an aircraft you are in risk category 1. If you are a spectator at an airshow you are in risk category 2. The people who died yesterday were, I'd argue, mainly in risk category 3. (It is not yet clear if all were road-users or if any were people watching the flying - there is certainly a clump of the latter visible in some of the pictures, and it must have been one of them who took the close-up that's on the front page of half the papers this morning.) I therefore expect that there will be a lot of public concern, or at least concern expressed on behalf of the public (not always the same thing) about how this incident killed people who hadn't even accepted the risk of spectating. That's why it will attract attention out of proportion to the objective fatality risk.

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