Shore­ham in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Pilot - - FLYING ADVENTURE -

I was dis­ap­pointed with the BADA’S rather with­er­ing re­sponse to the in­cred­i­bly thor­ough AAIB re­port on the Shore­ham crash. Whilst the prin­ci­pal fac­tor was in­deed a hu­man one, the is­sues of main­te­nance, or­gan­i­sa­tion and risk as­sess­ment have been ex­posed as a mess. Com­pla­cency and a ca­sual at­ti­tude to reg­u­la­tion have clearly crept into the dis­play environmen­t and the reg­u­la­tory process failed as a re­sult of not cap­tur­ing this ‘prac­ti­cal drift’. Athony Beech, Brighton by email

As you so rightly pointed out in your April ‘Pre­flight’, the AAIB and its re­ports play a huge role not only in im­prov­ing flight safety but in­form­ing and ed­u­cat­ing at all lev­els.

When the Shore­ham tragedy oc­curred I was watch­ing the footage on a large screen in the pub, when a reg­u­lar loudly pro­claimed that this was another ex­am­ple of why air­shows should be banned. I pointed out to him that air­shows are the sec­ond largest spec­ta­tor sport in the UK af­ter foot­ball, and asked him if he knew how many spec­ta­tors had sadly per­ished at those shows since 1950.

Since he was un­aware, I (loudly) pointed out that be­sides the eleven at Shore­ham, al­beit be­yond the perime­ter, there were 29 at Farn­bor­ough in 1952. In foot­ball, the fa­tal­i­ties at Ibrox in 1971 were 66, Brad­ford had 56 deaths in 1985, and of course Hills­bor­ough suf­fered 96 deaths in 1989, mak­ing a to­tal of 218. There­fore, I posited, he should con­sider ban­ning foot­ball matches.

I have since pointed out that, fol­low­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, changes have been made to air­shows and dis­plays, as have mod­i­fi­ca­tions to foot­ball sta­dia fol­low­ing the afore­men­tioned dis­as­ters but, as usual, if it in­volves air­craft it gets more, and some­times sen­sa­tional cov­er­age. He still stands by his opin­ion but he did shut up. Thanks for another great is­sue of a great pub­li­ca­tion. Viv Wigley, by email

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