UK Civil Aviation Authority issues update on Shoreham crash response

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the United Kingdom yesterday issued an update detailing progress on its response to the August 2015 crash at Shoreham Airshow that killed eleven.

The crashed aircraft, pictured in 2013 during a display.
Image: Alan Wilson.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is expected to release a final report within months. It has issued a total of 21 recommendations to the CAA, which yesterday confirmed it has accepted all of them. Pilot Andy Hill, who survived but was seriously injured, faces a manslaughter investigation.

The CAA says it has already implemented more than half the recommendations in addition to publishing its own review of airshow safety in April. In April, it accepted measures including an increase in the distance between spectators and aircraft at shows. The latest recommendations include changes to aircraft maintenance and the process of receiving permits.

A CAA spokesperson said "We have been working on them as and when the recommendations came in and reviewing them in detail. We are continuing to work to implement the changes." They said the plan is "to have as many in place as possible before the start of the air show season."

Floral tributes following the crash.
Image: HarrisonS4433.

Hill was performing a large loop when his 1950s Hawker Hunter jet crashed into the A27 road near the town of Shoreham in West Sussex, England. Cars were caught up in the impact. He was an experienced pilot with a career with British Airways and the Royal Air Force followed by years of display flights. His military experience included flying Harrier jump-jets.

Both Hill and the aircraft were well known amongst airshow enthusiasts. The plane was sold by the military when it was decommissioned in 1996. Fellow pilot David Wildridge, who also participated in the Shoreham show, said at the time Hill was "well-known and well-loved", "very professional", and "the best of the best."

All eleven killed were men. An inquest is presently scheduled for March. It was one of three deadly European airshow crashes in four days, with fatal collisions in Switzerland and Slovakia.

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