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CAA airshow safety review update

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Honey bottom lane was closed then.

Thanks bzn.

Guy

Edited by F4u

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The CAA have published their follow-up action report:

http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/factor201604.pdf

Reading all of the recommendations they do not accept, it looks to me like they are stepping back from doing anything that might leave them with any responsibility. Airshow organisers, display directors and issuers of PDAs are on their own, it would seem.

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The CAA have published their follow-up action report:

http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/factor201604.pdf

Reading all of the recommendations they do not accept, it looks to me like they are stepping back from doing anything that might leave them with any responsibility. Airshow organisers, display directors and issuers of PDAs are on their own, it would seem.

It is amazing to me that they can reject so many recommendations by the AAIB, then just close them. so no further action?

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It is amazing to me that they can reject so many recommendations by the AAIB, then just close them. so no further action?

Fairly reasonable reading the reoprt. The AAIB can recommend anything and don't necessarily have to consider all the external factors or methods the CAA has to factor in. It certainly doesn't mean the AAIB recommendation is a practicable solution for all involved or all circumstances, and the rebuttals of rejected recommendations all seem very reasonable (such as awaiting the crowd line distance study, or rejecting the "occurrence list" on the basis that it would jeopardise "open" reporting (and the "just culture" of safety reporting) of some incidents where instead people just wouldn't report - or worse, you get tit for tat reporting which is of little use to anyone.

If the CAA had to accept every recommendation without review, you may as well merge the AAIB the CAA.

Edited by Vickers McFunbus

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It seems very clear that the CAA is being extremely careful to ensure all the onus in all this falls on the display organisers and not on them,.as far as possible. Why then are they called the 'authority'? (And why do they charge so much?) My answer - they do not wish to be accountable, nor to take an interest in these areas in case that becomes something which can be used against them at law. Sadly, the CAA gives the impression of having become very much more enthused of pen pushing and paperwork in recent years; there seem to be fewer folk there interested in flying or even promoting aviation. Cover your back appears to be the watchword.

The AAIB made several extensive and interesting references to the way in which the FAA and the Canadian authorities operate - a much more rigorous, yet enlightened approach, I thought. Disappointing our CAA seems to feel there is little to learn from how those countries work. I also note with disappointment that they don't feel there are any issues due to 'conflicts of interest' amongst the display community. I think they are wrong and that one in particular may well come back to bite them.

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It seems very clear that the CAA is being extremely careful to ensure all the onus in all this falls on the display organisers and not on them,.as far as possible [...] they do not wish to be accountable, nor to take an interest in these areas in case that becomes something which can be used against them at law. Sadly, the CAA gives the impression of having become very much more enthused of pen pushing and paperwork in recent years; there seem to be fewer folk there interested in flying or even promoting aviation. Cover your back appears to be the watchword.

Very good summary. I have fumed at this attitude for years, whether it's volcanic ash or icy runways.

I would tend to be more charitable and put this down to the fact that not only are there fewer personnel interested in promoting flying/aviation, there are just far too few personnel full stop. Cuts have ensured that even the regulator is struggling to cover the requirements it should be leading, advising and overseeing.

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Yes, but volcanic ash does this:

Outlook.com%202016-06-14%2017-29-50_zpsi

As you well know Alan, where would you rather be, on the ground or sucking this into your engines?

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Very good summary. I have fumed at this attitude for years, whether it's volcanic ash or icy runways.

I would tend to be more charitable and put this down to the fact that not only are there fewer personnel interested in promoting flying/aviation, there are just far too few personnel full stop. Cuts have ensured that even the regulator is struggling to cover the requirements it should be leading, advising and overseeing.

That is a very good point Alan, thank you. A combination of reduced numbers of pilots and aviation interested folk within the CAA, plus a lack of any strong management or political drive to encourage positive action has made life difficult. Negativity become easier, positive action is perceived as potentially risky.

I stand corrected; it is easy to criticise - more charity wouldn't hurt!

John B

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A view from the other side of the crowd barrier:

Peter Teichman wrote:
Hi all, we are now a couple of months into the new display season and there are certainly some changes in our little airshow world. The tentacles of the Shoreham tragedy have spread into every facet of our working lives as display pilots. These changes have impacted at almost every regulatory level and leave deep impressions upon both the spectacle from an audience perspective, plus for display pilots such as myself, changes both actual and perceived.
The first show of the year was on the 1st May at Abingdon, where Neil and his team put on a super show year after year, raising funds for charity. This was the season opener but was run under the auspices of the MAA (Military) as Abingdon is an MOD property. Whilst the MAA rules mirror the CAA in most areas, there are some differences, too boring to discuss in these pages.
Display distances have moved out to 230 metres on the main “A” axis and there are new restrictions on the so called “B” axis, or vectors towards the crowd. In fact, at one show, any manoeuvres with a crowd vector were banned, here the FDD going even further than the new CAA mega rule changes, so that meant a wholesale alteration of my display that particular day.
The brief at Abingdon was the usual professional one from FDD John Davis, a really experienced operator who takes no crap on his watch. For the memory was that feeling in my stomach, that uneasy feeling that all eyes were on us display pilots waiting for us to trip over, to be 10 feet inside the display line, or straying just a few metres over the car park edge or God forbid, flying over a living thing, occupied dwelling, caravan, factory, tent, etc etc.
I had the feeling all that day, that the world was against us display boys and that the fun had gone out of this activity, this passion that I have so enjoyed over the last 16 seasons. What had been accepted in the past, before Andy pilled in at Shoreham, was now “verboten”. For instance, I always used to nibble the edge of the car park to produce those lovely arcing topsides that the snappers so enjoyed. If you were in an upward trajectory and did perchance fly over a house or small built up area, close to the display, then largely, being over 500 feet and angled away, even the CAA said “fair enough” but not anymore. You old son, are flying a Permit to Fly aircraft and though shalt not overfly any built up area…end of.
So that first day, I looked ever so carefully at the airfield map, at Google Earth and took in as much information as I could, in spite of the fact that I had displayed at Abingdon many, many times but this is the new world friends. I identified vast areas around the site that were not possible to fly over, Abingdon town the nearby A road, lots of hamlets and buildings and was left with very limited choice to get that display in the P40 done at all
The best solution was largely to stay within the airfield boundary, where I was protected by the rules, had no chance to upset anyone BUT that meant a very tight show in a 300 mph fighter and much increased G forces to get her around the patch. Yes we got it done and perhaps the public did not see too much difference but for me, it was very different and not a lot of fun to be honest.
Following week was the first CAA regulated show of the year and it was a biggie, the season opener at Old Warden. This show was the first occasion where the Red Arrows had been at Old Warden for 25 years was it and so the focus was on this one and who was the “sap” who was the first act, the show opener…me of course. I had not attended the brief that morning as it was my Granddaughter’s birthday that Sunday and nothing was more important than that, so I had flown up to Old Warden during the week and “Dodge Bailey” the Chief pilot had been kind enough to brief me personally. There have been a ‘lorra’ changes and some that have gone beyond the new CAA imposed changes but I fully respect Dodge and his standpoint and I was eager to fully comply.
Alterations to distances, radically altered display lines, additional avoids and a re-iteration of the rules in terms of overflying the local villages, that to be fair in the past had not been an issue. The boss asked me to be squeaky clean and as I ran into slot at 14.00 sharp to open their 2016 season, I felt a very heavy weight of responsibility as I surveyed the largest crowd I had ever seen at Old Warden, a sell-out 7000+ I hear.
The display was as briefed, I made it the best spectacle I could within the rules as laid down , I avoided every “avoid”, village, person vessel, hedge and all the rest and got it done . Did I enjoy the display like old times, no I can say I didn’t really and as I landed on with a strong southerly crosswind across the runway gusting 18 kts, there was a sigh of relief really that I had not heard a “STOP, STOP “ nor upset anyone. Not nice when you feel that way but I that is how I felt to be frank and why should I not be honest, no one keeps me and I am not a shy person!
After a flight up to Yorkshire the following weekend in the P40 for a lovely wedding display it was time for Dover Castle. Well, I could bore you for hours on bloody Dover, OMG what a drama the CAA gave me on these three displays over the May Bank holiday weekend. Same gig last year, I got my permission from the CAA no worries, I flew lovely safe set of displays along a perfectly safe display line, no one was killed, or otherwise maimed and thousands of folks at the Castle had a wonderful sight of Spitfire and Hurricane looping and swooping over the Kent hillside.
Now roll onto 2016, the new enlightened world and I find out barely a week prior to the show that the display line from last year was no longer acceptable, my permission rejected, displays all were toast!. I was offered an alternative display line but over the harbour and that was subject to the agreement of the Dover Harbour master. Having already undertaken a lengthy risk assessment, Police engagement, Local authority engagement and risk assessment and Coast guard contact, now I had to start again and enter into a dialog with a very reluctant and sceptical Dover harbour authority.
With a few days to go, I completed another paperwork exercise, asked my client English heritage to leverage their relationship with the DPA and that all fell over, as why would they want me flying over their port on the busiest weekend of the year with lots of ferries and cruise ships in harbour…who could blame them, they said “Non” of course, bound to really.
So back to the CAA and they finally offered me a display line that was at the closest 1200 metres from the Castle and at the furthest over 2000 metres away. I gave my client the chance to cancel but to their credit they agreed and finally, after yet another revised risk assessment I got the permission a day prior to the show, with to be fair every effort from the guys at CAA , who are doing their best to manage a “pigs ear” of a set of rules.
I got the displays done in a good old mates Spitfire MK IX as ours was off line, so thanks to Pete Monk at Heritage Biggin for lending me the Spirit of Kent, which I had last flown in 2006 ,so my log book tells me. The display line was faaaaar away, couple of bloody great aerials between me and the crowd plus the weather was less than brilliant on two of the three days but we got I done and the client was pleased but again, Shoreham is playing havoc with our lives
Next came our beloved Biggin Hill airshow, not the “Biggin Hill International Air fair” as we are used to but a scaled down version, whilst Colin, Bill, and Barry, carefully build up momentum again for this historic event. The issue of course is the site that has a road running along the end of the runway and several other challenges to meet the new CAA regs. The show was smaller than the old days but nevertheless had quality acts and was well supported. The CAA permission was restrictive and set a number of really tough challenges for the FDD and pilots alike.
Amongst these were no flight under 200 feet over the southern end of the display line and that had to be in “non aerobatic” flight (less than 89 degrees of bank) Then literally yards away from the main display line a whole area of buildings, that during previous shows, we all flew directly over, were now deemed to be “not below 1000 feet “. Then the valley and the village itself at just to the left of the main runway were no go at all at any height, necessitating a sharp turn to avoid. But the best one of all was the CAA (bless) banning all aerobatic manoeuvres outside the airfield boundary ….WHAT? The rules of the air allow you to fly over an open space, at minimum 500 feet above and undertake an aerobatic manoeuvre. That is enshrined in the rules of the air (rule 5) but that weekend the CAA said if you want permission to run this show then this is how it is.
So no Derry turns, steep turns, half Cuban or other recognised aerobatic method to turn back towards the display line, just a turn at less than 89 degrees of bank, which uses a lot of sky in a high speed warbird. The weather was a challenge and the display line hard but again we got it done and the show was a big success but for me personally fun, hmmm far less than in past years if I am honest. Is there a pattern building here, one of the fun being squeezed out of our weekends?
...
Fly safe
Peter

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I read that on his Facebook post last night.

I've seen Peter's displays and they were safe and competent. It seems to me that the new mindset and attitude is possibly more harmful than good. Fundamentally, it seems to me that the display pilots need to concentrate on flying the aircraft properly within its limits and making good decisions based on manoeuver entry gate criteria rather than conducting a precision navigation exercise in front of a crowd, whilst trying to entertain them too.

It's not unlike the road-going reduce-speed mantra, where it's accepted that people are simply going to crash and the effort is on minimising damage when that happens. Display flying now seems to treat crashes as inevitable and the primary focus has shifted on to ensuring that when they crash, it cannot possibly be on another human being. Perhaps the attitudes of some pilots and flight directors was too blasé, but this seems to be a grim place.

I'm going to Flying Legends next weekend. I've heard the American display at Duxford was crap. I've got a suspicion that Legends will be also. It sounds like things either need to become less tense, or organisers and attendees will simply decide not to bother and many of the aircraft will be sold overseas due to lack of interest here. Nobody wants to pay money to watch a dot moving around 1.2~2km away. It's slow, it's quiet, it's dull.

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Sobering reading:

 

file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/UK%20Classic%20Jets%20AEROPLANE%20July%202017%20pp8%20(1).pdf

Edited by T7 Models

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13 minutes ago, T7 Models said:

Sobering reading:

 

file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/UK%20Classic%20Jets%20AEROPLANE%20July%202017%20pp8%20(1).pdf

Can't open that??

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@T7 Models You've linked to the file on your own pc so it can't be viewed (without resorting to a bit of hacking😈). Could you please link to the file on the web? 

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1 hour ago, T7 Models said:

Oops.

 

Can't seem to put the link up properly, but if you go here:

 

http://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/595186-sea-vixen-4.html

 

and scroll down to post no.70, there is a link there.

That only helps if you are a member of PPrune.

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Now that does surprise me.

 

In that case you'll have to go down to your newsagent and have a look in The Aeroplane for July at p.28.

 

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One thing that is becoming apparent is that some of the crowd distances quoted as unnecessary by airshow goers are not imposed by the CAA. Display lines. although sometimes realigned, are not a lot further out but pilots are displaying further away. I have been at shows where the organisers have been trying to get pilots to come in further towards the line. Whether this is fear of being red carded I (which is done by the show organiser, not the CAA) or because they are practicing less is unclear. Even if they do come closer and too close to the line, that is not an immediate red card, but they would be told and asked to move out a little.

 

As for Old Sarum, there were a lot of discussions and the CAA were being very helpful. There was a clear problem at the 2015 display as the numbers of people freeloading on adjacent hills were a big problem. Although the Vulcan cancelled, we were told it would not attend if there were significant people on the hills. Therefore, even without the mechanical failure, it would have not been there.  There was a will to make this happen with the CAA but there were other factors that came in that made it impossible for the show to go on and they had nothing to do with roads, the CAA, freeloaders or display lines.

 

I was at Newcastle Co Down last weekend. We had several acts that were too far out, one in particular. All were briefed to come in and use the shape of the bay, not the jet line.  We also had a CAA visit and were thoroughy and fairly inspected. The discussions after were fortright and helpful and the points raised were easy to deal with and all very sensible.

 

It is a different world than it was three years ago but it is not as onerous as some are suggesting. There were problems that needed addressing and there were some knee jerks, but in the main they are being dealt with.

 

So far in my experience the MAA were being far more of a problem than the CAA.

 

One more point, most of the people that attend airshows are not enthusiasts but the general public who are interested, and whose one mainly pays for it all. There are enthusiasts attending but we now see a lot more 'professional' (sic) photographers that appear to demand closer access and are, in the main, the people complaining about display lines being too far out. This is a development of the last few years. Going back ten years or so photographers used film and 200mm lenses. They now want to photograph the nose hairs of the pilot, the only thing you need to ask is if this is necessary and whether the organisers are responsible for facilliitating this, and whether the critiicism of the CAA is just coming from a select few

 

Ask yourself when was the last time you just watched an aeroplane for the enjoyment of it. It is actualy a lot more fun than some people seem to think!

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