Aviation Week & Space Technology

Podcast: Can Airshow and Demonstration Flights Be Made Safer?

Discuss this Video 61

on Mar 21, 2017

I can't believe the misinformation in this podcast. I flew airshows for 11 years in a high performance jet. The altitude restriction is not 1500 feet. It is what you can get the FAA to approve. I was approved to 400 feet aerobatically. The EAA has had its share of crashes including a spectacular and tragic crash of Corsairs and Bearcats doing section takeoffs. The problem with airshows is there is no vetting process for the skill and experience of the pilots nor a method to determine the airworthiness of the aircraft they fly. The accomodations are typically dismal, the heat of the day typically draining of hydration and after a night of drinking and festivities the pilots are hardly in shape to do their best. Worse the discipline for briefing the show and sticking to what's briefed is sorely lacking. Fix some of the foregoing and you fix the non-problem. Airshows have proved very safe and crowd injuries and fatalities are very very low. Improvements should be made but correctly identifying the cause and effect is step one, and you folks are just wrong on this one. As to company demo flights, making an airplane do what the boss would never allow his pilot to do makes no sense, doesn't sell airplanes and occasionally hurts someone. The lack of cockpit discipline and strict rules about the limits of the demonstration is the solution to this non-problem as well. Stick to the F-35 which sadly is only suited to airshow flying.
Arthur Wolk

on Mar 21, 2017

The "better dead than look bad" pilot attitude has caused many air demo accidents. Erasing that attitude would be a big help.

on Mar 21, 2017

Oh, I just love that last sentence. :D

on Mar 21, 2017

Childish last comment detracting from previous words.

on Mar 22, 2017

Counselor,
We have immense respect for your aeronautical judgment and experience, especially as you're an accomplished, well known jet pilot, as well as a formidable trial lawyer. Please see Greg Colyer's [The AceMaker's] comments below. His description of the various minimum altitudes is in keeping with what Jack Pelton told me. Certain performers do get waivers to fly lower than the standard FAA aerobatic minimum altitudes, But, that's based upon their demonstrating to FAA their expertise on a long term basis.
Respectfully,
Fred

on Mar 21, 2017

They can be safe if only old recorded ones are shown on TV. Plus people trying to see it wont get high blood pressure because of the idiots standing up in the stands in front of them.

on Mar 21, 2017

I should add that maintaining a high performance jet fighter is very expensive and difficult. There is a reason Governments own these things. Unlike many of my dead colleagues, I had a full time mechanic to make sure my aircraft was safe and even then, the engine failed due to a faulty fuel control. The other problem is finding competent trained mechanics and overhaulers who can safely repair and rebuild old jet engines. It is a constant effort to scrounge parts and even build new ones when necessary but if an owner isn't willing or able to make that commitment, the risk goes up exponentionally. My fuel control was "rebuilt" four times and after my crash, not at an airshow, the post crash examination revealled the overhauler never removed the lead seals put on fifty years earlier. In short he was a fraud and didn't even open the unit. While most vintage aircraft rebuilders are honest, decent people who try their best, a bad one can kill you, or nearly so.
Arthur Wolk

on Mar 22, 2017

Counselor,
Amen. Steve Hinton, Chris Fahey and our other friends at Fighter Rebuilders and Planes of Fame out in Chino can attest to the time and effort it takes to keep a vintage jet fighter in airworthy shape. It's far, far more complex and expensive than maintaining an EA500 or other business jet, as you've experienced.
Respectfully,
Fred

on Mar 22, 2017

Second that!

on Mar 22, 2017

Second that!

on Mar 21, 2017

The military demo teams are great. Otherwise, forget it.

on Mar 21, 2017

i flew as solo and lead solo pilot the Royal Canadian Air Force's Golden Hawks aerobatic team 50 years ago. The Hawks were probably the only military jet aerobatic team to never have a accident during an airshow. They performed throughout North America; about 65 shows a season for five years That was in an era when we alone decided how low we'd fly. The solos did manoeuvers right off the deck. Loops were started at the altitude you'd be just clearing the ground on takeoff. The important part was the altitude at the top not the bottom. There was no super competency on the part of any of the 30 or so pilots who flew with the team but they were all very good. What very much contributed to their success was that they, as former pilots from one of our many European fighter squadrons, all had about 1000 hours on type, were carefully selected to try out for the team and their reputations preceded them. The pre-show season lasted for about four months and, at three flights a day all manoeuvers were practiced hundreds of times before being done once before an airshow audience. All solos were briefed about not doing manoeuvers so low that they thrilled themselves but spectators beyond the second row couldn't see them, and, if things were not working out perfectly, to break it off because very few people would know the differencer

on Mar 22, 2017

Flight Lieutenant McKeogh,
Hat's off to you, LTCOL Dan Dempsey, Ed Rozdeba, B.R. Campbell, George Miller, Al Young, Dave Barker and C.B. Lang for your superb airmanship flying the Canadair F-86 Sabres. We're sure that Bob Hoover is smiling down at you.
The Golden Hawks' superb safety record speaks reams about the skills, discipline, practice and bare-knuckles post flight debriefs that make many military flight demonstration teams the envy of so many aviation enthusiasts.
As you note, each member was meticulously screened, exceptionally well regarded and put through intense practice sessions prior to the first public flight demonstrations.
This is what is required to avoid accidents in high performance aircraft at air shows.
With great respect,
Fred George - former 1310 - VF-96 / VF-121 / VF-191

on Mar 21, 2017

Comments about performer behaviors pretty well nail the critical points. I helped run a big annual show from 1985-1992. It was a national favorite among pilots & visiting aircrew including military jet teams & our efforts were always well supported by resident ANG wing. But the occasional (always non-military) guys who went out & flew a routine in late summer heat/humidity/denalt after the previous night's 'all you can drink' hangar party scared hell out of us. I hold no brief for FAA bullying-the jerks once hassled Bob Hoover at our show- but do still wonder why ramp checks never included at least a cursory blow test for alcohol...

Oh well. Every cultural phenomenon has its 'golden age' & that of the truly cool-fun-for-everyone airsho has long since passed away. At least my kids got to see, touch, even ride in birds like the C-47, B-25, T-6.

on Mar 21, 2017

WAY too much about the risks of flying in/out of OSH AirVenture, which is NOT airshow flying ... and has been incredibly safe over many years, due to the skill of the controllers and heads-up by the GA pilots ... Stick to airshows, where some improvement could be made ... and which the International Council of Airshows works at diligently ...

on Mar 22, 2017

Dr. Rich,
Having flown into EAA AirVenture more than two dozen times, it never fails to amaze me that more accidents and incidents don't happen. Just the confused banter on communications radios tells plenty about the angst experienced by many private pilots arriving at and departing from Wittman.
The exceptional professionalism and flexibility of FAA air traffic controllers and EAA volunteers solves 99% of the problems encountered by the thousands of weekend warriors who visit Oshkosh every year. And special thanks to EAA and FAA for publishing a comprehensive NOTAM that covers so many aspects of operating into and out of KOSH.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Jack Pelton and Michael Huerta for making the Oshkosh AirVenture fly-in one of the safest GA events all year.
Fred George - ATP - CE500 / CE525S / DA10 / EA500S / G-IV / LR-JET

on Mar 22, 2017

As a current solo civilian jet demo pilot for the last 10 seasons I can share this perspective. I operate two T-33's, I hold a unrestricted surface level waiver in turbo jet aircraft and have been the #1 booked solo jet demo in North America flying 25-30 shows a year as my full time job. Over 600 demos. Our safety briefings are through and cover all the bases. Pilots will speak up if they don't like something they hear. There are 3 different show lines to perform aerobatics, 500,1000 and 1500 depending on the speed of the aircraft, jets are at 1500 ( horizontally ) away from the crowd. No energy is permitted directed towards the crowd either. As far as height above the ground, you start with a 800' hard deck, once you gain experience you can drop down to 500', after a certain amount of shows and show sites you can drop down to a 250' level, then after another amount of shows and show sites you can drop down to unrestricted surface level with yet another evaluation, but by two different evaluators. With the exception of an accident 2 years ago where the tail came off of a Giles Aircraft and the engine ( burner ) failure on a high alpha pass by a CF18, and the Thunderbird crash last season where the stop was worn and when the jet was brought back to flight idle it shut down, the rest have been pilot error. It is a unforgiving business. It is not the heat, or drinking the night before that causes the accidents it is pilot error and poor decision making skills. The decision to fly when you shouldn't or the decision one makes while flying their demo. Complacency plain and simple. You do something enough it becomes routine and people have a tendency to forget the danger involved. Riding my bike is dangerous and it's out of my hands when someone is texting and driving a car and I am on a bike. In the Jet it's in my hands, it is dangerous, but more it's unforgiving of mistakes. Look up the word complacency , "complete unawareness of danger- smugness" this just doesn't apply to airshow pilots but all pilots and every business that has danger or risk involved. Even driving your car to the store you better have good SA. It's good to live with a little bit of fear, I know I do and it keeps me on my toes. I have my strict minimums for all my Manuvers and if I miss a Altitude, airspeed, mark or anything I abort without a thought, that decision is made before I get in my jet, I don't make it at the moment and decide then "oh I can still make this" it's already made before I climb in the cockpit and I abort the maneuver. My mins are high and leave me an out and lots of margin, for my vertical pull through stuff at I have at least 1500 feet and 3 G's to spare but if I miss my mark by 10 feet, I don't even think about it, I abort it and use my "out" I know I don't show up with my "A" game every show, nobody does, I listen to my body and adjust to it, maybe only pull 4 G's instead of 7, or do my rolls at 500 feet instead of 200. I keep myself in top physical shape and come to the show both mentally and physically ready to fly. I will stand down, which I've done before for a varity of reasons.. maybe the fuel truck was late and I was being rushed, not feeling good, or the weather was marginal, whatever the reason.
I think people push themselves more than they should, ego, pressure to perform, whatever it might be. I love flying, but I love my life more. People on the ground don't know what you're suppose to do, they are amazed they just fly, and your not going to impress another pilot.. you have to fly for yourself and no one else.

on Mar 22, 2017

Hello Greg "AceMaker" Colyer,
Welcome back from your abbreviated airline pilot career. Now, you'll be able to focus all your attention on flying the T Bird in air shows -- at least when you're not off participating in your next triathlons.
Thanks for pointing out the 3 FAA approved show lines, as well as what's needed to get the waiver to fly progressively lower.
All of what you write is consistent with what Sean D. Tucker told me prior to the podcast, typical of what we hear from America's top air show performers. Please copy Counselor Arthur Alan Wolk on your comments.
All the best from San Diego,
Fred

on Mar 21, 2017

Originals unnecessarily duplicated

on Mar 21, 2017

One of the contributors in this podcast uses the phrase "pilot error".
I flew the F-86 in the RAF (before the Hunter), and know from experience that if the stick is pulled back too quickly coming down from a loop a high speed stall can occur.
It can be seen from the many, mainly amateur, shots of this accident that the aicraft is nose up some time before it hits the ground ( although I could not see whether the elevators were up), which would indicate that it was in a high speed stall.
Which would seem to be pilot error.

on Mar 21, 2017

Originals unnecessarily duplicated

on Mar 21, 2017

Originals unnecessarily duplicated - AGAIN

on Mar 21, 2017

Solo Airshow Flight Demonstration pilots demonstrate a wide variety of aircraft with very different cost, skill and performance requirements. U.S. Airshow Performers regulate through ICAS and have built a safety culture in one of the most hazardous and difficult flight regimes anywhere.

Your podcast does not address Airshows or Airshow performers in the US directly, and uses the CAA Shoreham crash and two Military crashes as datapoints. You then discuss the EAA and Reno events as "Airshows" and kinda miss directly discussing performers at either place.

Expressing mirth at the CAA's regulation of the Shoreham environment pre crash and the litany of incorrect information that your panel provided illustrated an armchair spectator based review of the topic, and eludes the professionalism normally associated with AWST podcasts. An example is the 1500' comment for high performance or turbine aircraft. Derisively critiquing something only understood at the newsprint level is a bad practice. Most high performance airshow acts seek qualification to the Surface Level Waiver, and they do not operate in "Normal Airspace" at any time during their shows. Airshows are characterized by "Waivered Airspace", and rules specific to the performers aircraft. The Shoreham crash was a horrible event, and sadly with each crash unfortunately we learn something new. Crashes are rare however, and come from a variety of different communities and disciplines. That must be realized. There were no airshow spectator fatalities since 1952 in the UK. Even considering that point, the commentator laughed at the lax standards of the CAA. How many 121 accidents have their been in the same time period that have harmed people on the ground. Are 121 standards that much more "lax"?

As for the EAA Fly IN, while there are performers operating during times of waivered airspace, the arrival of GA pilots of all descriptions is a perilous thing when you actually spend time watching it. However, offering a mentor pilot idea that "makes lots of money" for a few chosen is not numerically achievable or respectable. Those that have done it are always available to help other pilots on the field, and EAA folks are the nicest anywhere. Some guys need some extra help, but the EAA is really good about spotting it and giving it.

Military jet crashes at airshows reflect the nature of the planes that are being displayed. These are multi-engine fighters or single engine fighters demonstrating performance characteristics at the limits of the aircraft's envelope. An engine failure or rollback results in a crash that can be deadly to spectators or folks in proximity to the demonstration area. The Mig-29 and Canadian F/A-18 crashes were examples of this, and demonstrate the dangerous point of flying the airplane well below Vse at high Alpha at low altitude.

Your insight in the Reno air Races is again incorrect. Racers are not going faster than they were designed to go. In the case addressed, a builder took a plane that had a .8 Mach or 505 mph redline speed, and built the engine and airframe in such a way to live closer to that boundary normally not attained in anything other than a dive. A well built raceplane is a dangerous animal for mortals. But the prepared and professional race pilot makes the spectacle one not to miss. But it truly is not an airshow and he is not performing. It is racing. Very different.

The Sean Tucker comments and details about his show shows in so many ways why that level of preparation is so important. He is one of the greats, and an amazing performer. It has been my great privilege to meet and listen to many of the great airshow pilots and race pilots that fly in our skies today. They are truly amazing folks, and don't deserve a sensationalist approach that does not understand airshow flying, or people who mean well but do not have the time to research the topic.

on Mar 22, 2017

Dear Joe "Blackjet",
"Mirth" was not the intent. Please carefully peruse the accident report and see why we reached the conclusions that we did:
Aircraft Accident Report AAR 1/2017 - G-BXFI, 22 August 2015
gov.uk/aaib-reports/aircraft-accident-report-aar-1-2017-g-bxfi-22-august-2015

Respectfully,
Fred

on Mar 21, 2017

There is a lot of validity to the comments that have been mentioned here. The comment of "Complacency" that Acemaker brought up, I agree with wholeheartedly. It truly is very easy to slip into that mind frame and get into trouble. It doesn't have to be in a high performance aircraft, it can occur in that simple act of riding one's bike... It's happened to all of us at one time or another.

Quick example, my brother was riding at a local MX track. Decided to make one more lap at the end of a long afternoon of riding... He crashed and I get a call to pick him up at a local hospital near the track. He is a competent rider, both on and off road. He just got a little tired and should have stopped...but decided to "do one more lap".

Complacency can indeed be a killer if one let's it to be....

on Mar 21, 2017

Well I have been attending airshows in the UK since 1988 and I have yet to see an aircraft performing a demo flying towards the crowd line. That has always been a No Go. Oh by the way the CAA stands for Civil Aviation (not Air Worthiness) Authority.

on Mar 21, 2017

This is the first Aviation Week podcast that I have listened to and I was appalled at the ill-informed, amateurish and almost xenophobic nature of it. I sincerely hope that others are of better quality.

Blackjet604 has very succinctly covered many of the points that I wanted to raise, so I won't repeat them.

However, I will comment on a jet performance, that I saw last year at Oshkosh. A Mig-17 was flying much closer to the crowd line than the 1500' mentioned in the podcast, both vertically and horizontally.

The pilot was making afterburner turns, towards the crowd, at night! How did the EAA Air Boss allow that?

on Mar 22, 2017

Non-aerobatic passes by high performance a/c are permitted along the 500' showline ( a line 500 feet running parallel along the primary crowd line). If aerobatic, they are restricted to the 1500' showline. Altitude would subject to the Level authorized for the pilot under the ACE program...an 80 page manual established by ICAS in conjunction with the FAA and Transport Canada. All of this (and much more) is governed by the Waiver provisions and discussed in detail each day during the Air Boss safety briefing with all performers, FAA, CFR assets, administration, support personnel and other parties that are required to attend.

on Mar 22, 2017

Counselor,
Insightful comments. It would be great if ICAS's John Cudahy would weigh in on the issues. Again, I suggest looking at the UK AAIB report to compare and contrast what happened at Shoreham.
Best,
Fred

on Mar 21, 2017

Great comments from EdMcKeogh and AceMaker. --- It's astounding how many people do NOT understand Ed's comment: "The important part (for a loop) was the altitude at the top not the bottom." Anyone who hesitates in understanding that comment should never fly a demo.

on Mar 21, 2017

He Blue,
No one has been killed at the top of a loop, the ground is at the bottom. There is a lot more to successfully doing a loop than altitude such as airspeed, g's in the pull and the decision making over the top. A spit S is just as exciting and anybody whose hard deck is 200 feet misses the point. The crowd behind the first row cannot see you at that altitude hence the CAT Flight with which I flew for 11 years used 400 feet as the hard deck. I beg to differ with a number of commentators as my experience is different than theirs but anything that will help is good. Arthur Wolk

on Mar 23, 2017

Yes true no one dies at the top but the decision one makes at the top of a loop or split "S" is the reason someone dies at the bottom of the loop, so the in essence the top of the loop can kill you.. It's just delayed until you get to the bottom. Unfortunately I lost a good friend last year from this exact same maneuver we are talking about. As I mentioned in my original comment, I build in a large safety margin into my vertical pull through maneuvers, I accomplish most of the G and recovery in the first 1/2- 2/3'ds of the recovery then I am able to feather the bottom with less G and safely go lower to the ground on recovery so I am not leveling off 1500' above the ground. This also protects me for changes in DA and other variables. I can still fly a nice symmetrical loop and make it as safe as I can.

on Mar 21, 2017

Has this guy ever actually read the UK airshow regulations? I doubt it given that he cannot even get the Civil Aviation Authority name correct. You are prohibited from flying towards the crowd contrary to what the speaker states, and the Shoreham crash happened well away from the airshow crowd. The aircraft hit traffic on a nearby road and all the fatalities were there. There are many things wrong with this podcast, poor and full of inaccuracies.

on Mar 22, 2017

Dear Nelson,
Please carefully peruse UK CAA's accident report on the Hawker Hunter mishap.
Aircraft Accident Report AAR 1/2017 - G-BXFI, 22 August 2015
Respectfully,
Fred

on Mar 21, 2017

user-2788752 obviously did NOT understand McKeogh's comment, and should retire while he's still alive.

on Mar 22, 2017

If you are going to comment on an incident of the report, Fred, I suggest you read it before making stupid and erroneous statements. You are supposed to be an expert but don't know your own rules (1500 ft min alt - nonsense) nor do you know the aircraft (Prevost ???).
Having said that, there were a number of ridiculous statements made in the AAIB report on Shoreham that were also simply wrong, sadly there appears to be an agenda, other than future safety, on the part of the report's author. To begin with, some of the "Litany" that you refer to Fred, concern the aircraft itself but everything on the aircraft worked perfectly, it did "exactly what it said on the tin" and the aircraft did not contribute in any way whatsoever to the incident, the SOLE cause of the accident was pilot error, due no doubt to the hubris of an arrogant man. The description of the aircraft's path immediately prior to the crash is not only wrong but impossible. A T7 Hunter cannot complete a half loop in 2500 ft no matter what speed it begins the pull-up nor what power setting it has, to suggest as the report does that it did, is simply ignorant and a betrayal of the purpose of an AAIB investigation. Furthermore, the height of the initial pull-up is irrelevant for the aircraft can quite easily and safely pull out higher than it went in to the loop.
My last point concerns the stupid arrogance of Fred who seems to think that you in the US are all safety and responsibility yet he ignores the fact that you allow people to do whatever they like to an aircraft, fly it way beyond its design envelope over a crowd and don't appear to realise that the tail breaking is a likely consequence. I refer of course to Reno.
Still you can sit and peddle twaddle like this pod cast all you like but it does not make it right. I recall an old adage, it is better to sit quietly and let people think you are stupid than to open you mouth and prove it. Fred, take heed.

on Mar 22, 2017

Couple points here, especially re: Reno. First and foremost the racing action is not an air show and there are separate rules under the 8900.1 regarding air racing action. Second, under no circumstance do racers fly over the crowd. Have you been to Reno, CEO? Reno Air Race Assoc. and the FAA have spent countless hours fine-tuning the race course for the "heavy metal" classes (Unlimited and Jet) to ensure that the absolute minimum amount of energy vector is on-crowd and that the scatter pattern for those classes is well outside the primary crowd area. That is not to say the owners of these A/C aren't making modifications to airframe and powerplants that push the envelope. Of course they do. Can you name a type of motor racing that doesn't? The crash in 2011 was a very painful learning experience from which Reno has emerged as a stronger and safer event.

As for air shows, the level of professionalism I see exhibited in the shows I work as an air boss is beyond reproach. Ace Maker is spot on in his comments. I don't know any of the individuals in the podcast but I have to say I concur with much of the comments here. A little research on the part of the two participants would have gone a long way in making this podcast worthy of anyone's time...anyone who knows air shows. Otherwise, it pablum for the ignorant.

on Mar 23, 2017

Dear ‘92078’,

I think your linguistic pedantry is somewhat misplaced. In what universe do you suppose that air races are not air shows? I agree that the air show on offer is different to that at other types of show, but then again so is a competition aerobatic show different from a military show such as RIAT. In this language, I think we are perfectly safe describing the generic concept as ‘airshows’ whether aerobatic, military or racing.

Your second point that “… under no circumstance do racers fly over the crowd…” is disingenuous to say the least, especially if the point is to defend Fred’s xenophobia. The Shoreham crash occurred outside the airshow, following an unrehearsed and un-briefed manoeuvre, presumably intended for positioning. The Reno tragedy, on the other hand, was systemic; the aircraft was where it was supposed or permitted to be but a structural failure, allowed by the rules and the authorities, caused the catastrophic consequences, which were, I am sure you know, the same as Shoreham.

As for you comments on the professionalism by the participants and organisers of airshows, I wholeheartedly agree. It is a great shame that the cavalier, arrogant and hubristic behaviour of a tiny number place in jeopardy the livelihoods of thousands and the enjoyment of millions. It for those morons that I reserve my bile so if some has spilled over and offended the innocent, I apologise.

on Mar 23, 2017

Greetings CEO,
The universe I speak of is as defined by the FAA under 8900.1. The Reno Air Races (e.g the actual qualification and racing action) is governed under separate rules from an "Air Show", which Reno also offers, under unique Waiver provisions. I'm simply drawing a distinction between them, just as the FAA does.

The Reno accident in 2011 was indeed a failure on several fronts. Modifications to the airframe that were not fully vetted, use of degraded parts, failure to properly inspect, etc. And yes, the a/c was where it was supposed to be doing what it was supposed to being doing when the sequence of events caught up.

Again, the racing action at Reno does NOT fly over the crowd. Period. All of the courses (Bip & F1, T-6, Sport, Unliimited and Jet) are more than 1500 feet from the primary crowd line. I'm not defending anyone position here (Fred's or anyone elses). Instead, I'm setting the record straight regarding the distinction between air racing and an air show.

Bottom line is that by the very nature of who and what we are, human endeavors of this type are subject to errors in judgment. Always have been and always will be. The air show industry in the US has done and continues to do a good job in identifying pitfalls and mitigating risk.

on Mar 22, 2017

Dear "Airline CEO",
Thank you for your comments. The UK CAA AAIB report was the sole basis for our comments about the Shoreham accident. As you note, the Hawker Hunter accident at Shoreham resulted from pilot error. The best pilot cannot defy the laws of physics. The comment about the BAC Jet Prevost referred to the Hawker Hunter pilot's previous experience flying that aircraft prior to his having the accident in the Hunter -- again as noted in the AAIB accident report.
As for the Reno Air Races, we noted that it's an entirely different environment than Oshkosh, Shoreham or any other airshow venue.
Respectfully,
Fred

on Mar 22, 2017

If you are going to comment on an incident of the report, Fred, I suggest you read it before making stupid and erroneous statements. You are supposed to be an expert but don't know your own rules (1500 ft min alt - nonsense) nor do you know the aircraft (Prevost ???).
Having said that, there were a number of ridiculous statements made in the AAIB report on Shoreham that were also simply wrong, sadly there appears to be an agenda, other than future safety, on the part of the report's author. To begin with, some of the "Litany" that you refer to Fred, concern the aircraft itself but everything on the aircraft worked perfectly, it did "exactly what it said on the tin" and the aircraft did not contribute in any way whatsoever to the incident, the SOLE cause of the accident was pilot error, due no doubt to the hubris of an arrogant man. The description of the aircraft's path immediately prior to the crash is not only wrong but impossible. A T7 Hunter cannot complete a half loop in 2500 ft no matter what speed it begins the pull-up nor what power setting it has, to suggest as the report does that it did, is simply ignorant and a betrayal of the purpose of an AAIB investigation. Furthermore, the height of the initial pull-up is irrelevant for the aircraft can quite easily and safely pull out higher than it went in to the loop.
My last point concerns the stupid arrogance of Fred who seems to think that you in the US are all safety and responsibility yet he ignores the fact that you allow people to do whatever they like to an aircraft, fly it way beyond its design envelope over a crowd and don't appear to realise that the tail breaking is a likely consequence. I refer of course to Reno.
Still, you can sit and peddle twaddle like this pod cast all you like but it does not make it right. I recall an old adage, it is better to sit quietly and let people think you are stupid than to open your mouth and prove it. Fred, take heed.

on Mar 22, 2017

Hey Airline CEO which I doubt. I know Fred George and while I disagree with what he says on the Podcast he is an able and effective communicator on many subjects including aircraft performance and operations. He has been an important contributor to Business and Commercial Aviation magazine and has flown many types of business and commercial aircraft and reported on them accurately and effectively.
We are all imperfect from time to time but the blanket criticism of Fred is unwarranted and unfair. I have never seen and NTSB or AAIB investigation that was accurate so why you are wedded to the contents of the report on this accident is inexplicable to me. While this unfortunate accident appears to be a judgment issue, we were not in the cockpit and even the greatest pilot isn't perfect every day.
No pilot wants to crash but it happens and low level aerobatics carries with it a high risk that even a slight miscalculation will have tragic results. Sadly that's why many people go to airshows.
Vetting, practice and strict rules on pilot celebrations before they fly will help. Arthur Wolk

on Mar 22, 2017

Well Arthur, not only am I an airline CEO, I am also an airshow display pilot of ex-military aircraft and know the subject, the pilot and the aircraft concerned. Unlike you, I do not know Fred George so his contribution to aviation generally is not pertinent to the subject being discussed. The points I made are valid for he was spouting twaddle, even on a subject on which he claims to be expert. The idea that the minimum fly past height for a military jet is 1500 feet is nonsense. Further, he went on in an arrogant and supercilious manner criticising airshow organiser in the UK while implying that the Americans are perfect. Well, I have news for you, that too is rubbish.
If he puts himself on a forum such as this and wants to opine on subjects he clearly knows less than he thinks, then he must accept the consequences, as would I were I to do the same.

on Mar 22, 2017

Airline CEO - I agree with you 100%. If someone is going to write an article and have a pod cast, the information they spout better be accurate. This isn't CNN where the facts are irrelevant when they report things. Most that read aviation week know what we are talking about from experience and being in the industry, so they should get the facts correct.

on Mar 22, 2017

Greg,
Please read the UK CAA AAIB report on Shoreham and see if you come to different conclusions than we did. We're quite open to criticism and discussion. If, as "Airline CEO" asserts, the AAIB report is rubbish, then we stand to learn valuable lessons and professionally grow as a result.
And, we'd love to go flying with you in the AceMaker.
Best,
Fred

on Mar 22, 2017

Fred
I would welcome and enjoy that! Maybe come for a behind the scenes follow up on a airshow weekend from a performers perspective. exactly what we go through as performers.

on Mar 23, 2017

Fred,
Coming to a "conclusion", basically means an opinion has been formed. I think this is what generated all this discussion on the topic. You put a opinion out there and you are opening pandoras box. As we spoke about, there might have been regulations that were not enforced, or maybe one that wasn't there, or questionable maintenance on the subject aircraft, but in the end none of those things would have prevented the crash, It was caused by pilot error plain and simple, poor SA as to where he was, and poor decision making on the pilots side. Adding and making new regulations isn't going to stop these types of events from happening. Just a side note, In the US more spectators have been killed at NASCAR and INDY races in the last 20 years than Airshows by a wide margin, ( the Reno race crash was not an airshow ) same with race car driver much higher accident and death rates than airshow pilots.

on Mar 22, 2017

. If someone is going to write an article and have a pod cast, about something so critical I agree the information they share better be accurate. Thiey should get the facts correct or state this is our opinon form whatvwe gathered from the reports.

on Mar 22, 2017

Dear "Airline CEO",
My name is Fred George. AceMaker obviously is Greg Colyer. Esteemed pilot and attorney Art Wolk clearly identifies himself.
What's your name? We'd be in a better position to address your concerns if we knew your identity.
Respectfully,
Fred

on Mar 22, 2017

Well Airline CEO. We Americans are not perfect indeed far from it. But we are more than willing to admit our frailties and do our best to do our best.
It is incomprehensible to me how personal these comments become even to the point of attacking the nation of citizenship of the commentators.
That contributes nothing useful to the subject under consideration. I wish I knew what airline you claim to run, because I want to avoid it it if at all possible. You obviously don't like Americans but we Americans like our British friends and anything we can do or say to help you Brits from busting your asses in your airshows, with the inedible food, we'll be happy to oblige. Arthur Wolk

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