14 April 2016
Air Show Regulations Tightened Following Shoreham Disaster
New regulations have been introduced to increase safety at UK air shows following the Shoreham tragedy, which killed 11 people.
A new report published by The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) lists ways in which safety measures will be changed such as increasing the minimum distance between displays and spectators and the minimum altitude at which ex-military jets can perform aerobatic manoeuvres.
The report and subsequent changes follow the disaster on 22 August last year in which a vintage Hawker Hunter jet, which had been performing aerobatics at the annual Shoreham air show, crashed on the A27 in West Sussex.
Dame Deirdre Hutton, chair of the CAA, said: "We began this review immediately after the accident at Shoreham last summer with the sole purpose of doing all that we can to make UK civil air shows even safer.
"It has been an extensive review, looking closely at all aspects of air show safety to identify any areas where the system can be strengthened.”
Further changes to safety regulations include enhanced risk assessments and tougher checks on the experience, skill and health of pilots. Though the aircraft involved in the Shoreham accident had a valid permit to fly, it had undergone work in January 2014, with its next inspection due in January 2016.
The upgrades in safety will mean an increase in charges for patrons of public air shows due to an increase in costs from £2,695 to £20,000. The CAA have cited any increase in price as ‘just a few pence per ticket’.
Dame Hutton added: "While we recognise implementing these changes will require significant work from the air show community, we believe they are essential to enhancing the safety of UK air shows and safety must always be the top priority.
"We are already working with the air show community to make sure these measures are implemented for the upcoming display season and beyond, and so that the public has every confidence that UK air shows meet the highest safety standards."
This year’s Shoreham show will not take place as a mark of respect for those affected. The Manchester air show has also been cancelled, with officials blaming the timing of the safety review.