Sussex

Shoreham air crash: Jet had out of date parts, says report

Emergency services at the crash site Image copyright PA
Image caption The report said the accident response was delayed in the area near the ejector seats

A jet that crashed during the Shoreham air show, killing 11 men, had expired ejector seat parts and an out-of-date technical manual, a report has said.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) also said emergency workers had to delay their response because some explosive cartridges were still live.

Its report said the seats were a "significant hazard" that delayed rescue teams until they were made safe.

The Hawker Hunter jet plummeted on to the A27 on 22 August killing 11 men.

Image copyright South Coast Press Agency
Image caption Wreckage from the plane crash was taken to the AAIB in Farnborough in the days following the disaster in August

A final report is still to be published by the AAIB, but seven safety recommendations have been made in the bulletin, which has looked at the safety of ejection seats and the maintenance of ex-military aircraft.

The AAIB said manufacturer support for the jet had ended after it was retired from military service, and its technical manual had not been updated.

The explosive cartridges for the jet's ejector seat and canopy had expiry dates of June and July 2014, more than a year before the crash.

Sussex Police said officers were at the scene immediately after the crash and the issue of the ejector seats arose when victim recovery was taking place and the aircraft had to be lifted.

The AAIB report also said investigators could not determine if the aircraft met the requirements of its permit to fly from December 2014 onwards.

Valid maintenance record

Aircraft that do not qualify for a standard certificate of airworthiness - generally former military or amateur-built planes - are able to operate with a permit to fly granted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

But the AAIB report revealed that initially the CAA "could not determine" if the Hawker Hunter met the requirements of its permit, because of doubts over the validity of the maintenance of its Rolls-Royce engine.

It recommended the CAA review its procedures over issuing such permits to ex-military aircraft.

A CAA spokesman said it was examining the AAIB bulletin in detail, but stressed it did not contain any information about the cause of the crash.

He said the CAA had told the AAIB investigation the jet had a valid maintenance record at the time of the crash.

"The aircraft did have a valid permit to fly at the time of the accident and was therefore permitted to operate," he added.

Work had been carried out on the aircraft in January 2014 and the next inspection was due in January 2016, the CAA said.

The AAIB said investigations would continue and it was still examining the aircraft and its maintenance records to determine its exact condition before the accident.

Pilot Andy Hill has been interviewed by police, it was confirmed last week.

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