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Shoreham Airshow Crash: CAA Announces Vintage Jet Restrictions

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ruled that vintage jets are to be banned from performing ‘high energy aerobatics’ over land at air shows. All Hunter jets have been grounded and vintage jets are currently limited to ‘flypasts’ only.

This ruling comes after a ‘Hawker Hunter’ taking part in the Shoreham Air Show crashed into traffic on the A27 in West Sussex at the weekend. The crash has led to 11 deaths so far. According to Sussex Police, a crane has removed wreckage from the motorway and no further victims have been found so far.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry has added:

“However, until we have fully completed the search of what is an extensive scene, I must caution that there is still the possibility that we may discover evidence of further victims…”

Over 200 people have been in contact with police over concerns of missing relatives and loved ones. According to officials, the death toll could increase to around 20 over the coming weeks as remains are identified. The pilot of the crashed jet, Andrew Hill, suffered numerous injuries and is said to be in a critical condition. He has since been put into a medically induced coma.

Restrictions for future air shows

The flying restrictions that have been put in place following the tragedy will be valid until further notice. ‘Additional risk assessment on all forthcoming civil air displays’ is to be conducted, a spokesman for the CAA has said. Individual display pilots are to be assessed through a ‘thorough test of their abilities’ before being granted approval to fly.

Numerous forthcoming air shows have had to alter their schedules since the restrictions were announced, including the 75th anniversary Battle of Britain show due to include a performance by Andrew Hill. The event will still take place on September 19th and 20th; however parts of the show have been revised following the crash, according to an Imperial War Museum spokesperson.

This is the second crash at the Shoreham air show in recent years; however the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) has defended the show’s safety. A spokesperson has said:

“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.”

Investigation

West Sussex coroner Penny Schofield has appealed for the public’s “patience and understanding” as she advised that the process to identify the victims would be a “slow and painstaking operation”.
Schofield stated that it may take “several weeks” before all investigations were complete, the coroner added:

“The fire was so intense and the scale of the damage so vast, it means that we must very carefully remove the remains in a way that will lead to a formal identification.”

Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has offered his sympathies to those who lost their lives following the crash. He said:

“The government is offering its full support to both the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch to ensure everything possible is being done to find out what happened and ensure air displays take place safely and follow the highest standards.”

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Sources:
BBC
Daily Mail

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