Sussex

Shoreham air crash trial: Jet was in 'very good shape'

Shoreham air crash Image copyright PA
Image caption The court has heard the aircraft erupted in a "massive fireball" upon impact

An ex-military jet was in "very good shape" before it crashed and killed 11 men at Shoreham Airshow, jurors have heard.

Fran Renouf, an engineer who serviced the Hawker Hunter aircraft, told the Old Bailey it had been "flying better than it had ever flown".

The jet failed to complete a looping manoeuvre and crashed on to the A27 on 22 August 2015.

Andrew Hill, 54, denies 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Mr Renouf, deputy chief engineer at Weald Aviation, said his company had looked after the aeroplane since 2012.

He said: "It had had a lot of maintenance carried out...it was flying better than it had ever flown.

"There were no real problems with the aircraft at all."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Andrew Hill survived the crash in which his jet crashed on to the A27 during an air display

Senior engineer Mark Jenkins, who performed a pre-flight inspection on the day of the crash, said he "found nothing during the checks".

In a statement, read to the court, he described Mr Hill as "his normal self" before the flight.

"Nothing gave me concern about his ability to fly that day," he said.

"I would describe him as an absolute gentleman who came across as very polite... he was very safety conscious and never cut corners."

Prosecutors allege the "devastating" crash was caused by Mr Hill's "dreadful negligence".

He committed the "cardinal sin" of committing to the manoeuvre, despite being "thousands of feet" too low, jurors have been told.

Karim Khalil QC, defending, earlier argued that Mr Hill was suffering from "cognitive impairment" and was "unable to properly and fully control the aircraft", due to the effects of g-forces.

The trial continues.

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