Sussex

Air show safety tightened after Shoreham crash

Shoreham air crash Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 during the airshow in August

Safety measures at all UK civil air shows have been enhanced following the Shoreham air disaster.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had reviewed every aspect of air display safety.

Tony Rapson, the CAA's head of general aviation, said the cause of the Shoreham crash was still not known but from this year all air shows would have tighter requirements.

A vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 on 22 August, killing 11.

The jet had been performing aerobatics at the annual Shoreham Airshow when it plummeted to the ground. This year's show has been cancelled.

The CAA is enhancing requirements for permissions to hold a display; training and checks for people overseeing displays; requirements relating to the experience, skill and health of display pilots; and the role of examiners who oversee display pilots.

Measures taken in the aftermath of Shoreham will also remain in place - they saw all Hawker Hunter jets grounded, ex-military jets restricted to fly-pasts over land and air shows subject to enhanced risk assessments.

Mr Rapson said millions of people attended air displays - more than 5.7 million in the UK in 2014 - and the CAA had looked at how it could make displays "even safer and even better".

He said this year would see a move towards formal training for flying display directors who would either have to attend a pre-season symposium or an individual briefing.

From 2017, a formal two-day course will be in place.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Eleven people died after the vintage jet plummeted on to the A27

Mr Rapson said the Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) was investigating the Shoreham incident while the CAA had looked at regulations for all air displays.

He said: "We still don't know the cause of the Shoreham accident but when they [the AAIB] make recommendations, the CAA will respond."

The aviation chief explained restrictions and precautionary measures put in place following the Shoreham crash would remain in place because the CAA could not assess them until it had seen the AAIB's conclusions.

Both the CAA and AAIB have yet to make their final reports.

Colin Baker, one of the directors of Shoreham Airshow, said managers of the show had always complied fully with CAA regulations and entirely supported the ongoing CAA review.

He said: "We will closely examine both the updates announced today and the CAA's next report, due for publication after the AAIB investigation is completed, when we consider the future of the airshow from 2017 onwards."

Image copyright South Coast Press Agency
Image caption The AAIB is investigating the Shoreham crash and will make recommendations

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