Shoreham Airshow crash pilot acquitted over deaths

Bit of a surprise verdict. The press here in Blighty have not particularly been on his side.

BBC News - Shoreham Airshow crash pilot acquitted over deaths


I’m glad to hear it.
I understand the grief of those who lost someone near and dear, in the accident.
Accidents, however, will happen.
Finding someone to blame has become increasingly important in todays society. Someone who can stand in front of a pointing finger. Someone who can personify your loss.
This is evident in commercial aircraft accidents as well. People in general doesn’t have the knowledge required to understand the concept of organizational failures, or chain of events. They just need someone to punish, so they can move on.
It is refreshing to see that the courts won’t bow to this attitude.
Anybody can find him or herself in a situation, of no cause of their own, where no knowledge, skill or experience will save the day.


I’m glad he was acquitted too. He had a flying career that was most impressive. He didn’t get to where he was by being cavalier and negligent. It would have bitten him way before 2015 if that had been the case. The only concern I have is that he had little time in type to be doing low level aerobatics in the vertical plane. He certainly didn’t go out that day with the intent to hurt anyone. His flying career is over and it this point, a guilty verdict and subsequent sentence wouldn’t achieve anything positive. He will no doubt be punishing himself each and every day for the rest of his life. I really feel for him.

1 Like

Yes, but one must also consider if another couple of hundred hours in type, would’ve made any difference…
Pilots with a lot more in type experience also have accidents.

This is what complicates the issue.

The real issue here is risk.
We all have to accept the fact that there are a lot of dangers that pose a threat to our life.
We can mitigate a lot of these threats, to minimize the risk of ever facing these dangers.
And the risk is normally considered acceptable, until you, or someone you love, draw the shortest straw…

Time on type is a bit of a hot button for me when it comes to aerobatic accidents. IIRC, my brother’s pilot had only had about 23 hours logged in the Firefly at the time of the accident. I don’t think you can be fully familiar with an aircraft’s performance and handling to the point where you are safe to perform low level aerobatics in that kind of time.

Part of the issue is that these aircraft are old, and expensive to operate. That means there is very limited time allocated to training. The Firefly was limited to just 60 hours a year total for the airframe. In that 60 hours, pilots had to train in addition to going on the airshow circuit. The airshow hours bring in funds needed to operate the aircraft, whereas the training hours deplete funds and eat up airframe hours. There is obviously an definite incentive to keep training hours to a minimum in this situation.

I’m not saying that this was the case at Shoreham, but I do see some parallels with this accident and the one that involved my brother.

1 Like

Whatever happened to those bizjet pilots arrested in Brazil over the midair with that 737 I think?

I recall a lot of words written on the criminalization of accidents when that was going on.

I hear you. I’m just saying that experience in type does not mean that you won’t have an accident.
That said, I don’t see why they insist on performing advanced maneuvers in these old kites. I go the airshows to see the aircraft. I’m quite happy watching low passes and just generally see the aircraft in the air. High G or inverted maneuvers doesn’t give me more satsifaction.


Definitely agree with you there. High speed passes, rolls, vertical climbs would all be good. Pointing the nose directly at the ground while at low altitude significantly adds risk.

1 Like

Nothing, AFAIK. The investigation showed it was an ATC error, compounded by the Traffic Collision Avoidance System was malfunctioning.

I remember there was a lot of noise from the local pols trying to pin incompetence or negligence or something on those pilots because they “should have known” they weren’t at the proper altitude or something. Seemed pretty obvious it wasn’t their fault, but you never know.

Was it already 12 years ago?? Wow I would’ve sworn it was more recent than that…