Pilot errors caused Shoreham air show disaster

Investigation finds vintage jet was flying 'too low and too slowly' to attempt a loop the loop

Shoreham Airshow crash
(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A series of pilot errors were to blame for the Shoreham air show disaster in 2015, during which 11 people died, investigators said.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said pilot Andy Hill may have flown too low and too slowly to complete a loop the loop because he confused the plane with another he had previously flown, reports The Guardian.

The vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on the A27 dual carriageway on 22 August 2015, bursting into flames and destroying several vehicles.

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Hill, who was among the 13 people injured, entered an "acrobatic loop at a speed of 310 knots and a height of around 185 feet, when his minimum speed for the manoeuvre was 350 knots and his acrobatics permit said he would not perform below 500 feet", said investigators.

They added that the death toll was made worse because "measures to protect the public were not effective".

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"No organisation or individual considered all the hazards and what could be done to mitigate the risks," said the AAIB.

Families of the 11 men killed said the crash was a "disaster waiting to happen and one that could have been avoided".

The BBC's Richard Westcott says one possible explanation for Hill's basic errors was that he "got confused with another jet aircraft, called a Jet Provost, which he normally flies". The Provost would have been able to perform the loop at the speed and height flown on the day of the crash.

"Aviation specialists have suggested that he may have got the planes muddled up. But it's unlikely that we will ever know for sure," Westcott added.

Hill, who says he has no recollection of the crash, is under investigation for possible manslaughter.

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