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Shoreham air crash trial: Pilot Andy Hill 'did nothing' to avoid crash

Shoreham air crash trial: Pilot Andy Hill 'did nothing' to avoid crash

The court heard the aircraft erupted in a "massive fireball" when it hit the ground
A pilot was "doing nothing" to avoid crashing his jet at the Shoreham Airshow killing 11 men, a court heard. Derek Davis, chairman of the show's flying control committee, said in the seconds before he knew something was wrong with Andy Hill's flight. Mr Hill is on trial at the Old Bailey after his Hawker Hunter crashed on the A27 erupting into a "massive fireball"."I thought the aircraft on the descent was not being controlled," Mr Davis told the court. Mr Hill, 54, denies 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence, in August 2015.
Mr Davis, a former RAF flight instructor, said he only realised something was wrong when the plane began to descend as part of a bent-loop manoeuvre. The move had earlier been described as "perhaps the highest risk manoeuvre in an aircraft which is not designed as a pure aerobatic aircraft", such as a Hawker Hunter.
Shoreham air crash trial: Pilot Andy Hill 'did nothing' to avoid crash

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Jurors were shown two clips of the fatal crash
Mr Davis said the way in which the plane was "waffling down" towards the ground indicated "there is something wrong with either the aircraft or the pilot"."He was not desperately trying to miss the ground or anything. He was doing nothing," Mr Davis told the jury. Asked what led to his concern, he said: "He did not apply power which would have been needed."There was no noise. The pilot did not make any radio transmission that he had a problem."If he thought something was wrong he could tell somebody," he said. "It didn't jettison the canopy. He didn't explode the hood off or anything."He said it appeared to him as though Mr Hill was able to pull back on the plane's "stick" and attempt to avoid a crash.
Crash 'inevitable'
Asked why he did not call a stop to the display at that point, Mr Davis replied: "The situation when you see an aircraft in trouble or doing something extremely unusual it could well be that there is something wrong inside that aircraft.""It could well be that the pilot is working extremely hard to rectify that."He said a call to the pilot could "interfere" with his attempts to deal with a fault. Thomas Moloney, an experienced display pilot who once owned the crashed aircraft but had never flown it, witnessed the manoeuvre. He told the court he had experienced a "sickening feeling" when he saw the plane pull upwards, because "the pilot has not attained sufficient speeds to pull into vertical"."When the aircraft went vertical I sort of felt that it was not going to end very well," he told the jury."I said to the pilot standing next to me, a friend of mine, 'God he's slow'."As the nose dropped the crash was inevitable."
Andy Hill had "responded professionally" to errors made at previous air shows, the court heard
On Thursday prosecutor Tom Kark QC played a series of videos of the crash recorded by spectators.One clip, filmed by a spectator on the road, shows the aircraft going into the loop manoeuvre before coming towards the camera.It ends with images of the fireball, with the footage cutting out as the person filming throws themselves to the ground.
Shoreham jury shown footage of crash
Shoreham crash pilot 'known risk-taker'
A second piece of footage shows the aircraft descend behind a group of trees before bursting into flames.Jurors were told Mr Hill was known to take risks, and a previous air show display had been halted due to his "dangerous" flying.The defence argued Mr Hill had "responded professionally" and taken steps to avoid repeating the mistakes. The trial is expected to last up to seven weeks.
(Top row, left to right) Matt Jones, Matthew Grimstone, Jacob Schilt, Maurice Abrahams, Richard Smith. (Bottom row, left to right) Mark Reeves, Tony Brightwell, Mark Trussler, Daniele Polito, Dylan Archer, Graham Mallinson
The men who died
Matt Jones, a 24-year-old personal trainer
Daniele Polito, 23 was travelling in the same car as Mr Jones
Matthew Grimstone, 23, a Worthing United footballer who worked as a groundsman at Brighton & Hove Albion
Jacob Schilt, also 23 and also a Worthing United player, was travelling to a match with Mr Grimstone
Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton, was a chauffeur on his way to pick up a bride on her wedding day
Friends Richard Smith, 26, and Dylan Archer, 42, who were going for a bike ride on the South Downs
Mark Reeves, 53, had ridden his motorcycle to the perimeter of Shoreham Airport to take photos of the planes
Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove was an aircraft enthusiast and had learnt to fly at Shoreham airfield
Mark Trussler, 54, had gone to watch the display on his Suzuki motorbike and was standing next to the road
James "Graham" Mallinson, 72, from Newick, was a photographer and retired engineer
Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham Airshow crash trial
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