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Jimbobtheflimbob

Civil Hunters Allowed To Fly Again

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The ban on flying civilian hunters placed on them after the Shoreham crash has now been lifted, so they will be allowed to fly again although with the new regulations regarding maintainance and also not being able to do aerboatics, as with other classic jets. Hopefully this will liven up the classic jet scene a bit!

 

http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?appid=11&catid=1&id=6886&mode=detail&pagetype=65

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Posted (edited)

Excellent news. The ban was an over the top reaction anyway and the ban on aerobatics is quite pointless.  It is simply a fig leaf to get the CAA off the hook for its part in the errors which contributed to the Shoreham accident.

 

I fear display flying in the UK will not return to what it once was. 

Edited by John B (Sc)

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On 7/6/2017 at 10:29 AM, John B (Sc) said:

The ban was an over the top reaction anyway and the ban on aerobatics is quite pointless.  It is simply a fig leaf to get the CAA off the hook for its part in the errors which contributed to the Shoreham accident.

 

I fear display flying in the UK will not return to what it once was. 

I beg to differ.

Personally I am quite disgusted with the quantity of aircraft that have been destroyed at UK airshows and over the years it makes for quite an extensive list... Hopefully CAA shines a very strong spotlight on the operations of vintage aircraft and the pilots of such in particular.

 

There is either a culture of pushing the boundaries, engineering failures, pushing the met. limits or "pressure to perform". I doubt engineering failures are high among that list and probably more met. induced pilot performance errors. If there is a way to prevent more occurrences then this is fabulous. 

 

There are those who bemoan the lack of an airworthy Mosquito in the UK, yet the only airworthy aircraft at that time was destroyed there.

 

A certain amount of risk is always present with this form of flying, but there is absolutely no need for it to happen as often as seen in the UK airspace.

 

Obviously my comments will upset some viewers.

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That is a very fair comment Hairy, but the likes of some A26 and P38 pilots should have been dealt with years ago. I am more than happy for keeping it simple keeping it lively and keeping it safe. But I would like to see it in my airspace and not the next county!

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hairystick, you talk as if it was only in the UK where aircraft crash at displays. Accidents at airshows happen all around the world, and very often with much worse results. In this country, at the 150+ events I have attended in 30-odd years, I have been present at five accidents, one of them fatal, which amounts to an average of one crash per thirty events, or about one crash per 550-650 individual displays. I don't think the situation is as bad as you perceive, and I think some of your comments could be seen to be insulting to many display pilots who are incredibly professional and stay well within the rules. And on top of that the CAA needs to be shining a spotlight on its own rules and regulations before it starts to censure others.

 

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Posted (edited)

Hairystick,

Interesting.

In a similar way to you I am disappointed at the loss of life and of aircraft in display flying over the years.   Some have been related to engineering and serviceability issues, always a challenge with older aircraft. In that, a reasonable acceptance of the risk/reward balance requires to be made. That seems to be becoming harder for folk to understand in the 'modern' risk averse UK. I take the examples of the FAA, the BBMF and the Shuttleworh Collection. Their historical aircraft have suffered some losses and damage over the years due to engineering related issues like engine and undercarriage failures.  Overall their view appears to have been that the risk to the aircraft - and the volunteer crews - has been outweighed by the benefit to the public of seeing these historic aircraft displayed actively in their element rather than statically and 'dead' in a museum. That may of course change and is always subject to review.  While the CAA could take a view on the risk/reward ratio it does not, as far as I know do so in any definitive sense. That evaluation is largely left to the operators. I think that is correct though I'd like to see more direction.

 

Outside those accidents and incidents, most of the losses and fatalities have related to what I will broadly (and simplistically) term 'pilot error' accidents. These can be reduced, if not eliminated, by careful  training, supervision, oversight and feedback to the pilots and operators. The CAA has, at least in r cent times, not been doing this, in my view.   Possibly due to staffing cuts, amongst other things. They have tended to take a hands off approach, so that the required pilot training before a DA was issued was loosely defined  at best and the required standards for a DA approval were  to a large extent defined by the training/conversion instructors (themselves senior display pilots generally) and the DA approvers - also display pilots. In such a small group this process could become somewhat incestuous; an input from a neutral interested 'authority' could possibly have helped tighten certain clear gaps left in some training and oversight areas.  The pilots involved are & were all committed professionals, however we all suffer tunnel vision at times !  Nobody wants to kill themselves.

In addition the display organising authorities were left substantially on their own to define the requirements and limits of authority and responsibility for the safe running of airshows. The guidance given appears to have been somewhat distant in style at times.

I consider that these areas of dubious performance (at best) were well within the scope and authority of  the CAA, unless their remit and authorisation has been greatly changed with time. I suspect what has happened is a version of ''scope creep' over a number of years, undoubtedly exacerbated by reducing staff numbers.  Scope creep - insidious and imperceptible.  That is why my comment mentioned the CAA somewhat critically.

 

Of course hindsight is always 20:20. However, other countries have - and had  - taken a more  definitive and prescriptive approach. We didn't.  There is discussion now as to whether full blown aerobatics in high speed ex-military aircraft are worth the risk at flying displays. Possibly 

not. High speed flypasts and some gentle maneouvring to show off the aircraft's shape and colour scheme may be safer,as well as easier for pilots.  Your anguish and concern is shared by others.

OK, arguably a brief halt to jet display aerobatics while the issues were thought through post-Shoreham was justified. Otherwise, all a ban does is ensure everyone runs out of currency, which is costly to regain.

 

A disclaimer (sorry, this post has got rather long!)  - I am not a display pilot, don't hold  a DA, though I have displayed aircraft - old, light and slow ones, some time ago when the rules were more 'relaxed'. I am well  aware of the 'pressure to perform' - that is one we all have to work at to control. It has led me into a few incidents I shiver at now. I do still fly old aircraft, and aerobat some of them happily,though not at shows. I have a great admiration for display pilots, some of whom are valued friends.

 

Regards,

John B

Edited by John B (Sc)

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On 7/7/2017 at 6:34 AM, T7 Models said:

hairystick, you talk as if it was only in the UK where aircraft crash at displays.

It is just the quantity that have happened over the years. I'm not disputing the worldwide incidents, or for that matter "common" problems like landing gear issues, ground-loops, etc.

The flying errors made, which have resulted in loss of airframe and pilot are way over the top.

 

On 7/7/2017 at 0:44 PM, John B (Sc) said:

Interesting.

In a similar way to you I am disappointed at the loss of life and of aircraft in display flying over the years.  

 

A disclaimer (sorry, this post has got rather long!)  - I am not a display pilot, don't hold  a DA, though I have displayed aircraft - old, light and slow ones, some time ago when the rules were more 'relaxed'. I am well  aware of the 'pressure to perform' - that is one we all have to work at to control. It has led me into a few incidents I shiver at now. I do still fly old aircraft, and aerobat some of them happily,though not at shows. I have a great admiration for display pilots, some of whom are valued friends.

John. Fabulous input!

 

I do not want to see less quantity of displays, just aircraft that are respected and shown off to an appreciative audience who know they are seeing "art" and history in motion. Personally I'd like to see supersonic fly-by's, so none of the elf-&-nazi nonsense from me! Only that it is done well!

I'm also seeing the display "bubble" expanding exponentially over a display airfield. We have WW1 aircraft moving onto WW2 performances, necessarily requiring greater airspace over the field to work. Now with jets becoming more common, the "bubble" gets larger still and coupled with UK weather at times...

 

It is appreciated that CAA gives the "OK" for a show but then stands back and the organisers of the event take over. I would like to see a very small amount of control by CAA but only in setting the display "bubble" for met. appropriate to the aircraft types displayed (along with stringent hard-decks) and along with the pilots being looked at to conduct such events under marginal conditions.

 

Pilot "pressure" is the primary issue.

I initially typed a reference to John Romain (then deleted) who obviously knows how to display and survive.

 

Interestingly I stumbled on a video on Avweb last night, relating to wheels-up landings which researched FAA records and deduced that almost 50% was caused by "I just forgot!".

Pilots' eh!?;)

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On 7/8/2017 at 3:38 AM, hairystick said:

It is just the quantity that have happened over the years. I'm not disputing the worldwide incidents, or for that matter "common" problems like landing gear issues, ground-loops, etc.

 

 

Interestingly I stumbled on a video on Avweb last night, relating to wheels-up landings which researched FAA records and deduced that almost 50% was caused by "I just forgot!".

Pilots' eh!?;)

 

If you look at the annual list of air displays by country, the UK has more events per summer than many European countries put together. Logically there will be a greater incidence of crashes etc in the UK than in many other countries because of that.

 

As regards your comment re wheels-up landing, always remember what the great Bill Bedford, Hawker's Chief Test Pilot, said after telling the story of when he almost piled the Hunter T.66B into the runway at Meirengen while demonstrating it to the Swiss Air Force as he hadn't reset his altimeter to take account of the much higher altitude of the airfield:

 

"Even a monkey can fall from a tree."

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On 7/9/2017 at 8:32 AM, T7 Models said:

If you look at the annual list of air displays by country, the UK has more events per summer than many European countries put together. Logically there will be a greater incidence of crashes etc in the UK than in many other countries because of that.

It could also be interpreted that pilots and organisers are much more current and therefore should have less incidents.

 

UK is very lucky to have such quantities of diverse aircraft for us all to enjoy.

I note an A-4 Skyhawk is on the circuit this year!

 

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A company-owned aircraft based in Germany and registered in Canada attending one event as a static display only is not exactly 'on the circuit', hairystick. Maybe you ought to check your facts first?

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I like your Bill Bedford comment, T7.  A very fine pilot and raconteur by all accounts.

 

On wheels up landings, it is commonly said " There are those who have and those who will".  Few pilots are particularly noisy about criticising a wheels up landing too strongly because most of us know how close we've come !

 Now, someone who does it twice - ah, that's different. Time for a new pursuit; I'd recommend tiddlywinks.

 

Back to the original topic - I doubt we will see many, or possibly any, civil Hunter displaying in the UK again. The combination of maintenance challenges - the grounding delay has put more or less all the aircraft into an expensive cycle of checks - insurance for pilot and plane and CAA restrictions will make it an expensive, tortuous and risky(in terms of success probability)  process to get back to display qualification.

 

Pity.

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As they say in aviation circles...'learn from the mistakes of others, you won't live long enough to make them all yourself'.

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On 7/10/2017 at 1:52 AM, T7 Models said:

A company-owned aircraft based in Germany and registered in Canada attending one event as a static display only is not exactly 'on the circuit', hairystick. Maybe you ought to check your facts first?

Only saw a brief article in Warbirds, making the reference to appearances in UK.

Obviously I should have researched the ownership details, registration and blood types of those involved.

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Exciting air shows were in the 50s-80s..Its been down hill all the way since. The Red Arrows with Hawks never touched the Red's Gnat days, they just didn't. Shoreham was always going to change things. I suppose a bog standard flypast is okay for kids and people that haven't seen a different way of doing them.

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