CAR SHOWS FACE AXE IN WAKE OF SUSSEX AIR CRASH
Tighter CAA rules and higher fees spell end of flying displays at British classic car events
Atightening-up of airshow regulations following last year's Shoreham disaster could have major repercussions for classic car events that include aerial displays or flypasts as part of their programme.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced enhanced safety measures for all UK civil air shows following the death of 11 people when a Hawker Hunter jet crashed on the A27 in West Sussex in August. Among the steps introduced by the CAA are increased display charges that could price inclusion of an air attraction out of the reach of many classic car events.
As a result, one show that features cars and aircraft is facing a more than fourfold increase in charges. All classic events with an aerial element are under review, and many could be cancelled altogether.
Tougher new airshow regulations could have major repercussions for British classic car events that incorporate historic flypasts or aerial display elements.
This is one of the implications in the wake of the Shoreham Air Show disaster in August last year, in which 11 people were killed when a Hawker Hunter jet taking part in the event crashed on the A27.
As a result of this,the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has enhanced safety measures for all UK civil air shows. Among the steps introduced are increased display charges, enhanced risk assessments, tougher checks and training requirements for pilots and display directors.
This could price an air element – always a good crowd puller – out of the reach of many classic car events. A typical airshow which, last year, found itself paying £2695 in fees to the CAA could see that bill rise to over £20,000 in some cases.
Already many smaller shows, some of which had classic car displays as part of their make-up, have been halted; some experts believe up to half of the 300 shows with car and aircraft input around the country each year, might not go ahead.
The biennial Sywell Air Show in Northamptonshire is one such casualty. It was cancelled citing the ‘likelihood of much higher CAA fees’ as one of the reasons. More than 50 classic cars and 30 veteran military vehicles were due to appear. However, the very popular Pistons and Props event will go ahead as planned using the same venue in September, organiser Live Promotions has confirmed.
July’s Flywheel Festival at Bicester Heritage is taking place, too, although those behind the event say they are looking closely at the rules to make sure they are fully compliant. At the time of going to press, there was no change to Goodwood Revival’s plans for its 9-11 September event.
The Little Gransden Air and Car Show in Cambridgeshire is facing a hike in in its CAA payment from £1497 last year to £6994. One of its organisers, Dave Poile MBE, says that the gathering, which saw 500 vehicles last year, is going ahead but warns it might be unable to give as much money to charity this year due to the CAA’s new charges. £60,558 was raised for Children in Need in 2015, with in excess of £300,000 in charity donations overall since 1992.
‘More than 10% of the money given to good causes could now end up with the CAA instead,’ says Poile. The show is backing a petition asking the CAA to rethink its charges and also plans to slightly increase ticket prices to counter costs.
Tougher safety measures could see the end of historic aircraft input – including flying displays – at classic car events.