MP Tim Loughton said the AAIB’s second interim report into the Shoreham Airshow disaster, which was released yesterday, raises ‘some very worrying questions about the safety procedures’.
But Mr Loughton added people should not ‘jump to conclusions’ and place blame because the cause of the accident is still unknown.
He said: “We still do not know exactly what caused the accident to happen in the way it did on that day and we should avoid jumping to conclusions about who or what might be at fault.
“In particular, police investigations are continuing to determine if any criminal acts have played a part. However this report does raise some very worrying questions about the safety procedures that were followed and which may have had an impact on events.”
Mr Loughton said the organisers of the Shoreham Airshow are ‘experienced’ and ‘skilled’ people and it is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who is responsible for the safety of the airshow.
He said: “It is clear that crucial risk assessments were deficient and that certain processes that should have been carried out were just not happening. “I know that the organisers of the airshow at Shoreham are some of the most experienced and skilled people in this industry and safety of those in the air and on the ground has always been of paramount importance.
“It is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who are responsible for the safety of air shows, they produce the regulations, they issue the licences and they presumably should be monitoring implementation and its effectiveness. With this in mind, I was alarmed to hear how few shows are actually attended by their staff.”
The AAIB also found the risk assessment was not tailored to the different types of aircrafts taking part, said Mr Loughton.
He said: “Extraordinarily, the flying display director does not appear to have been fully appraised of the exact manoeuvres and routes to be taken by individual aircraft in order to make sure appropriate risk assessments have been drawn up and acted on in good time.
“That surely is just basic common sense and good practice so why was the CAA not making sure it was happening in practice?”
Mr Loughton also referred to the previous airshow incident in 2014, where a full report was not followed up at the time.
“It also seems strange that a full record is not kept when problems occur at other airshows and certain routines are stopped so that lessons can be leaned elsewhere. These are all recommendations that are made in the report but which basic common sense suggests should have been in operation well before now,” he said.
He also raised issue with the craft flying at a low altitude over a crowded A27.
Reserving final judgement about the cause of the accident until all information has been analysed, Mr Loughton said the CAA need to look at its own procedures and enforce urgent measures.
He said: “I will certainly be seeking an early meeting with the head of the CAA and the Transport Minister to make sure that these considerations are being pursued urgently.
“We owe it to the memory of the victims at Shoreham to get this right and to do everything humanly possible to prevent such a rare tragedy happening again in the future.”
To learn more about the AAIB’s findings, click here
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