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Published on August 25th, 2015 | by Jim Lee

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UK CAA announces restrictions on UK airshows

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a statement in the aftermath of the Shoreham Airshow incident. The incident involving Hawker Hunter T7 trainer WV372 (G-BXFI), happened about 13.20 on Saturday 22nd August, when the aircraft came down on the A27 between the A2025, near Lancing and A293, near Shoreham-by-Sea. This caused multiple injuries including 11 fatalities and 16 reported injuries and which led to the road being closed in both directions. Flying in Ireland wishes to add its expression of sympathy to many already made to those who lost their lives, their families and friends and to Andy Hill the pilot who was seriously injured and to the other people injured and to all those affected by the incident.

The CAA statement released on 24th August said:-

“The thoughts of everyone at the CAA remain with all of those affected by the tragic accident at the Shoreham Airshow on Saturday 22nd August. We will be offering every assistance to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch as it seeks to establish the cause in the coming weeks.

“The safety standards that must be met by all major civil air displays in the UK are among the very highest in the world. All air display arrangements, including the pilots and aircraft, must meet rigorous safety requirements. Individual display pilots are only granted approval following a thorough test of their abilities.

“All aviation safety requirements are regularly reviewed to ensure they provide the highest possible levels of protection. Events of this nature are very rare, but we will now thoroughly examine the circumstances to establish if further improvements can be made. We immediately commenced our review processes and remain committed to continuously enhancing the safety of all civil aviation and will provide further updates in the days to come.”

New CAA restrictions

Following the Shoreham Airshow incident, the CAA immediately began an urgent review and have, now announced a series of immediate restrictions and changes to UK civil air displays as follows:-

  • As a precaution, on Saturday 22nd August we took steps to ensure no further flights were made by Hawker Hunter aircraft – this temporary restriction remains in place.
  • Flying displays over land by vintage jet aircraft will be significantly restricted until further notice. They will be limited to flypasts, which means ‘high energy’ aerobatics will not be permitted.
  • The CAA will conduct additional risk assessments on all forthcoming civil air displays to establish if additional measures should be introduced.
  • We commenced a full review of civil air display safety yesterday and held an initial meeting this morning.

The statement added “the safety standards that must be met by all major civil air displays in the UK are among the very highest in the world and are regularly reviewed. All air display arrangements, including the pilots and aircraft, must meet rigorous safety requirements. Individual display pilots are only granted approval following a thorough test of their abilities”.

Hawker Hunter T7 trainer WV372

Hawker Hunter T7 trainer WV372

It went on “The CAA will continue to offer every assistance to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch as it seeks to establish the cause of the accident. The CAA will also act promptly in response to any emerging indications from the AAIB’s investigation. Further details will be provided in the coming days and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure the most appropriate action is taken as a result of this review”

“The thoughts of everyone at the CAA remain with all of those affected by the tragic accident at the Shoreham Air Show on Saturday 22nd August”, the statement noted.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch has appealed for video or photographs of the Shoreham air show accident. Witnesses are asked to contact the AAIB using their enquiries@aaib.gov.uk email address. The initial video carried by new media can be found here.

In a statement the Royal Air Forces Association & RAFA Shoreham said “We are offering every assistance to the Air Accident Investigations Branch as it seeks to establish the circumstances of the crash.

The Civil Aviation Authority safety standards that must be met by all major civil air displays in the UK are among the very highest in the world. All air display arrangements, including the pilots and aircraft, must meet rigorous safety requirements and are regularly reviewed to ensure they provide the highest possible levels of protection.

At Shoreham we have always taken those safety arrangements very seriously. The team at Shoreham have many years of experience in running air shows throughout the UK and all aircraft have to be certificated and all pilots authorised by the CAA before they are allowed to undertake display routines at any air show. The air show itself has to meet rigorous safety standards that are laid down by the CAA who review these on an ongoing basis”.

The Hawker Hunter that was lost participated in last month’s Bray air display and at the Foynes and Shannon air displays. The Irish Aviation Authority said it was deeply saddened by the tragic events and its spokesman said the Authority is constantly reviewing safety regulations here.

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About the Author

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Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.



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