New rules for airshow pilots announced

FURTHER safety measures have been set out by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) following investigations into the Shoreham Airshow disaster.

Hawker Hunters remain grounded following the latest Action Report from the UK Civil Aviation Authority
Hawker Hunters remain grounded following the latest Action Report from the UK Civil Aviation Authority

A series of new measures to further enhance safety at civil airshows was announced yesterday in its Action Report, part of its ongoing review of civil air display safety in the UK.

More than 300 civil airshows take place across the UK each year and Shoreham Airshow was in its 26th year when the Hawker Hunter crash happened, killing 11 men, on August 22, 2015.

Tony Rapson, head of general aviation at the CAA, said: “After the tragic accident at Shoreham Airshow last summer, we began a thorough review examining every aspect of civil air display safety.

“We are announcing a series of measures that will enhance the safety of UK airshows. Alongside these measures, the restrictions we introduced immediately after the Shoreham accident remain in place.

“In 2016, no airshow will go ahead without being subject to an enhanced risk assessment, and having to comply with tighter requirements for training, oversight and notification.”

Event organisers must now provide the enhanced risk assessment as part of the application for permission to hold an airshow.

Flying display directors will need to be accredited and must demonstrate the right attitudes and behaviours to fulfil the role.

Restrictions on Hawker Hunter aircraft and other ex-military jet aircraft, introduced in the immediate aftermath of the Shoreham Airshow accident, remain in place.

Hawker Hunter aircraft remained grounded and ex-military jets operating over land are restricted to fly-pasts only. They are not permitted to perform aerobatics.

Recommendations on the airworthiness of these aircraft will be made in the CAA’s next Action Report.

Pilots planning aerobatic sequences must provide advance notification of the linked manoeuvres they intend to perform.

The CAA will also strengthen the validation process for display pilots and introduce new flying experience rules which will better match the experience to the type of display.

Work on crowd lines and formation flying continues and an update is expected in the next Action Report.

The CAA’s comprehensive UK Civil Air Display Review is designed to ensure that all is being done so that civil air displays can continue to operate to the highest safety standards.

The CAA said it is committed to publishing the Air Display Review’s final report in early 2016 and will continue to work with our stakeholders to ensure that airshow safety is constantly examined and strengthened.

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