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Airshow safety and other matters. April 17, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I’ve a bit of a love of all things aerospace – and I know I’m not the only one here either – but I’m surprised in a way that safety regulations around air shows weren’t a bit tighter before the disaster at Shoreham last year which saw 11 people die when a Hawker Hunger jet crashed onto a road running along side the airfield at which the show was being performed.

Oddly enough we were discussing regulation the other day, and I’m always of a mind to accepting that there is risk in everything (as a person who used to have a very serious fear of flying – ironically given that love of aerospace I’m probably overly aware of that). Air shows are great. Aircraft are fantastic. But there is some risk.
The measures taken seem perhaps slightly excessive – as reported in the Guardian:

…grounding all Hawker Hunter aircraft and banning ex-military jets from performing aerobatics over land – will remain in place until the conclusion of an air accident report into what caused the crash.

But I’m presuming they are driven by the general approach to air safety which is very comprehensive indeed (and what makes air travel one of the safest forms of transportation). Whatever about that, it makes sense to increase separation between crowds and aircraft (which ironically can sometimes make for better displays) and it is also is important to keep in mind that potential risk.

It’s an odd one aerospace more generally. It’s so intertwined with matters military and I’m always conscious of that. Yet flight is one of the most remarkable achievements of our species. Just on that, I’ve read accounts of how in the 1930s immense pride was taken in Ireland and in this state in particular at the establishment of Aer Lingus Teoranta – as it was (and by the by the word Lingus is an anglicisation).

In the run up to and after independence there had been much mocking by some parts of the English press at the very idea that the Irish could successfully run an airline. That we did so, and so successfully, became an iconic signifier of this state’s independence. The term flag carrier is used in reference to airlines, but never more appropriately. And that pride in airlines is something that cuts across political lines very sharply.

Famously in 1997 Margaret Thatcher was incensed by the jettisoning by British Airways of the union flag from the tail planes of their aircraft – despite the fact that BA was no longer in any meaningful sense, as a private company, a national representation of Britain – and that it was her policies and approach directly that had led to its sale. But then, these things have a power all their own.


1. Michael Carley - April 17, 2016

On the whole I thought they were very restrained in the new measures and grounding of a type is common when there is an unexplained accident.


WorldbyStorm - April 17, 2016

Yeah, fair point!


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