This is an update on the events following the Crash at the RAFA Shoreham Airshow on 21st August 2015, where an Ex-RAF Hawker Hunter failed to make a loop crashing down onto the A27, a busy dual carriageway at the north of the airport killing eleven men.
Since our last update one week after the crash, the three unnamed victims were named. The victims were Matthew Grimstone, Daniele Polito and Jacob Schilt, all 23 year old players for local football team Worthing United FC on their way to play in a match, Matt Jones a 24 year old personal trainer, Maurice Abrahams, a 76 year old chauffeur whose Daimler was struck by the aircraft whilst he was en route to pick up a bridal party, Mark Reeves, 53 a keen motorcyclist and photographer, Tony Brightwell, Also 53 from Hove, a Private Pilots Licence holder and plane enthusiast, Mark Trussler, 54 who wanted to see the Vulcan bomber on it’s farewell tour, Graham Mallinson, 72 a retired engineer with passion for vintage aircraft who was also there to see the Vulcan, Richard Smith, 26 and Dylan Archer, 42 who both work in IT were on a bike ride (the A27 runs through the South Downs National Park).
The Pilot, Andy Hill appears to have made a full recovery, astonishing given how violent and brutal the crash was.
Numerous tributes have happened since the accident in memory of the victims, such as the placing of tributes on the Tollbridge as mentioned in our last update. A charity football game which was also a world record attempt by team named Heartbeat United, made from members of Worthing United and other local teams played football for 108 hours and 2 minutes through some awful storms with a result of Team Heartbeat beating Team United 1009-872 in aid of the British Heart Foundation. Tributes were also paid by the Musicians performing at Wildlife Festival which takes place every year at Shoreham Airport.
The investigation is ongoing into the cause of the incident, but it appears that there was indication of a mechanical fault with the aircraft and that the pilot had history of not following the guidelines set by the British Air Display Association when he flew his Jet Provost T5 too close to crowds and below the events minimum altitude. Although Mr Hill was questioned in December he was not arrested by the Police.
Currently, the accident is being investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and they have not concluded their investigation, meanwhile, Sussex Police are applying to the High Courts for access to evidence held by the AAIB such as flight recorders and onboard footage, The issue has gone to court because aviation law blocks access to some material. Sussex Police are investigating Mr Hill for manslaughter. Following the release of the AAIB’s findings and Sussex Police concluding their investigation we should know what happened, though it looks like pilot error.
Since the incident, Airshow rules have been tightened in the UK, with no aerobatics over built up areas (like Shoreham), increased minimum heights, some airshows being cancelled (Shoreham did not have one this year out of respect, it is unclear whether the Charity Airshow will happen again) and a reduced calendar overall.
I will update when the inquest is released.
Leon Humphrey is a 24 year old Mechanical Engineer from South East England whose educational background focused around Motorsport, he currently works in the Oil & Gas industry and spends his days dreaming about Porsches and Alfa Romeos.