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AAIB Report Makes 14 Recommendations For U.K. Air Display Safety

Publishes Special Bulletin Concerning Hawker Hunter Accident At Shoreham

The U.K. Air Accident Investigation Branch has published a special report that offers 14 specific recommendations for improving safety at air shows in the U.K.

The report stems from the investigation into an accident involving a Hawker Hunter military jet that was flying at last year's Shoreham Air Show. The plane conducted a maneuver with both a vertical and rolling component, at the apex of which it was inverted. Following the subsequent descent, the aircraft did not achieve level flight before it impacted the westbound carriageway of the A27. Eleven people on the ground were fatally injured.

The specific recommendations issued by the AAIB in Bulletin S1/2016 SPECIAL include:

  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority review and publish guidance that is suitable and sufficient to enable the organizers of flying displays to manage the associated risks,including the conduct of risk assessments.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority specify the safety management and other competencies that the organizer of a flying display must demonstrate before obtaining a Permission under Article 162 of the Air Navigation Order.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority introduces a process to ensure that the organizers of flying displays have conducted suitable and sufficient risk assessments before a Permission to hold such a display is granted under Article 162 of the Air Navigation Order.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority specify the information that the commander of an aircraft intending to participate in a flying display must provide the organizer, including the sequence of maneuvers and the ground area over which the pilot intends to perform them, and require that this be done in sufficient time to enable the organizer to conduct and document an effective risk assessment.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority require operators of Permit to Fly aircraft participating in a flying display to confirm to the organizer of that flying display that the intended sequence of maneuvers complies with the conditions placed on their aircraft’s Permit to Fly.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority remove the general exemptions to flight at minimum heights issued for Flying Displays, Air Races and Contests outlined in Official Record Series 4-1124 and specify the boundaries of a flying display within which any Permission applies.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority require that displaying aircraft are separated from the public by a sufficient distance to minimise the risk of injury to the public in the event of an accident to the displaying aircraft.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority specify the minimum separation distances between secondary crowd areas and displaying aircraft before issuing a Permission under Article 162 of the Air Navigation Order.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority require the organizers of flying displays to designate a volume of airspace for aerobatics and ensure that there are no non-essential personnel, or occupied structures, vehicles or vessels beneath it.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority require Display Authorization Evaluators to have no conflicts of interest in relation to the candidates they evaluate.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority require a Display Authorization to be renewed for each class or type of aircraft the holder intends to operate during the validity of that renewal.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority publish a list of occurrences at flying displays, such as ‘stop calls’, that should be reported to it, and seek to have this list included in documentation relevant to Regulation (EU) No 376/2014.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority introduce a process to immediately suspend the Display Authorization of a pilot whose competence is in doubt, pending investigation of the occurrence and if appropriate re-evaluation by a Display Authorization Evaluator who was not involved in its issue or renewal.
  • It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority establish and publish target safety indicators for United Kingdom civil display flying.

The AAIB said in issuing the report that it recognizes that as well as being enjoyed by large numbers of spectators and participants, flying displays are also considered to provide important economic and educational benefits. The sole purpose of an AAIB investigation is to improve aviation safety by determining the causes of accidents and serious incidents to make Safety Recommendations intended to prevent recurrence. It does not therefore consider the balance between those benefits and improvements.

(Source: AAIB. Image from file)

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