7 dead in UK airshow crash

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That’s the second small plane that’s crashed during a display in the UK in the last few weeks.

On 1 August the pilot of a small aircraft died when it crashed during a display.

The fact today’s plane crashed into traffic on a road, killing people on the ground as well as the pilot, is just that much sadder.

It’s not particularly relevant, but today is the 30th anniversary of a larger British air disaster in which 55 people died when the 737 they were on caught fire at Manchester airport. I’d been reading about it on the BBC this morning.

This sort of thing is always sad, but it seems weird to me that they were allowed to perform an aerobatic display over a main road.

First time that members of the public were killed at a British airshow were killed since 1952.

I just looked that one up because I thought it led to restrictions to stop it happening again (which it did, but only in respect of not flying over/near the crowds).


Yes. There are rules that should be observed and I think they are skirting them as well as not practicing their maneuvers enough before the show.

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…in a densely populated area.

Utterly incomprehensible. Unfortunately in the 1950s the UK was still a leading manufacturer of aircraft and air shows were all part of this. There is now a big nostalgia thing for the glory days (OK disclaimer I was quite excited to see the Vulcan on its way to Yeovilton recently) but in a densely populated little island the mantra that “there are no old, bold pilots” needs to be borne in mind a lot more.

Sadly, it won’t be flying past this season.

I love that plane. Remember seeing it at the Leicester Air Show years ago. Fabulous display.

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Just as well really. We don’t want any more accidents like this one.

But hey, the Vulcan didn’t just frighten the Argentines, it really put the wind up US air defences. I once worked with one of the Buccaneer pilots on that test, after he left the RAF, and it was the high point of his career. “Yes, guys, you’ve spotted us. Pity the Pentagon just got nuked by a Vulcan.”

I’m not a pilot, but I did play a LOT of Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Simulator in 1988, and it taught me that performing a loop at zero starting altitude was, like, not done.


Too low, didn’t come out of the loop soon enough and stalled the aircraft right into the ground at the end.

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I dunno, it’s been working pretty well for us for the past couple decades.

What. The. Fuck?

That first video makes it look like the pilot started the loop stupidly low, over the road. And my shaky instinct is that that kind of loop is much more likely to end lower than it started than the other way round.

Considering how busy the road looks in other videos, it’s incredible only 7 people died.

The Hunter is scarcely a small plane, except in comparison with an airliner. It’s as big as a bus.


If he had done it while in the RAF, he’d have been on a charge. As it is I almost hope he doesn’t survive because if he does the rest of his life will be sheer hell.
The pilot who was persuaded to carry out a stupid stunt by Nigel Farage (flying a banner over a UKIP meeting) crashed, and subsequently committed suicide.

Also see:

(Incidentally isn’t that just the best image ever? It’s like the British crying Eagle.)

But there’s a world of difference when you’re talking about some of the best and most highly trained pilots in the world (in both cases).

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Seems you were right; they’re now stating the body count appears to be at least eleven, and maybe more.

While I would hope the pilot would have known the minimum altitude needed to perform the loops, remember that there are like 1001 mechanical things that can screw up something like that. Everything from flaps not moving correctly to the engine thrust too much/not enough.

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Also, the pilot’s history, and his familiarity with the bird in question. The engine thrust characteristics that’s remembered from one type does not apply to another; the thrust margin one relies on may not be actually there.

Small details can play big role. See that Russian crash when pilots were braking during takeoff because of different design of the pedals from the type they were used to.

He’s an ex Harrier pilot, apparently.

(and also, not dead - which is very surprising)


Really just sounds like he started the loop from too low.

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That’s not the root cause. Why did he think it’s high enough? Perhaps a different expectation of how much thrust he can get from the engine, how much altitude will he gain or how little speed he will lose? Starting too low is part of the error chain, not the cause.

But it’s no big deal, though, right? I mean, only a few planes crash each year, and only a few people die. It’s hardly an epidemic. Besides, crashing planes is the price of Freedom™ and totally worth it. There is no reason to change … well … no reason to change anything, really.

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