Final Report Shoreham Airshow Accident, 22 August 2015 (video)

Hawker Hunter G-BXFI WV372

Pilot errors and ineffective measures to protect the public led to a vintage jet crashing on to a dual carriageway and killing 11 men during the Shoreham air show, investigators have concluded.

In its final report, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch listed a series of failings that led to the disaster.

The Hawker Hunter G-BXFI crashed on the A27, destroying vehicles and bursting into flames on 22 August 2015.

A further 13 people, including the pilot Andy Hill, sustained injuries.

Mr Hill, 52, from Hertfordshire, was investigated by Sussex Police for manslaughter and interviewed under caution.

Speaking today, AAIB principal inspector Julian Firth said:

“The aircraft crashed because at the top of its aerobatic manoeuvre it was too low to complete it.”

The report said the pilot carried out the manoeuvre at less than maximum thrust,
and it would have been possible to abort it safely
at the apex of the loop
but he had not been trained in the escape manoeuvre
which might have got him out of trouble.

The AAIB also found the severity of the outcome
was due to “an absence of provisions
to mitigate the effects of an aircraft crashing
in an area outside the control of the organisers of the flying display”.

The report said the risk assessment
“was not suitable and sufficient to manage the risks to the public”,
and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
did not require to see or approve risk assessments before issuing permission to hold a flying display.

The report makes a series of safety recommendations
including that in future airshow organisers must conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments,
and a pilot must tell organisers what manoeuvres it will carry out and where.

The AAIB also recommends that pilots should be trained in escape manoeuvres,
and that displaying aircraft are separated from the public
by a sufficient distance to minimise risk of injury to the public.

Both the AAIB and Civil Aviation Authority have already published a series of interim reports looking at the findings from the crash scene and implications for air displays around the UK.

An AAIB report in September 2015 found the jet showed “no abnormal indications” during its flight.

But a further report in December said the aircraft had expired ejector seat parts and an out-of-date technical manual.

In March last year, the AAIB said organisers of the Shoreham air show were unaware of the pilot’s display plans.

Safety measures at all UK civil air shows were enhanced following the disaster – the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had reviewed every aspect of air display safety.

The AAIB made 21 safety recommendations which were all accepted by CAA this year.

Press release and video Air Accidents Investigation Branch