Sussex

Shoreham air crash trial: Pilot 'drilled in escape manoeuvres'

Shoreham air crash Image copyright Steve Parsons/PA
Image caption Court hears the safely of the public is paramount in flying displays

An ex-military pilot whose plane crashed during an air show killing 11 people would have been "drilled" in escape manoeuvres, a court heard.

Andrew Hill was performing in Shoreham when his Hawker Hunter jet crashed in a loop manoeuvre, in August 2015.

Expert witness Jonathan Whaley told the Old Bailey pilots should be "aware of escape manoeuvres for every part of the aerobatic display".

Mr Hill denies 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Mr Whaley, who has himself flown more than 300 displays in a Hawker Hunter, told jurors all display pilots in the UK have to be authorised by the civil aviation authority, which sets out a number of rules and regulations and puts public safety as the priority.

The rules state pilots need be aware of something potentially going wrong and to have escape manoeuvres in their mind should it occur.

Mr Whaley said all military pilots would have been "drilled" in this.

"You practice a lot in simulators, they throw the book at you in terms of emergencies... to make sure you can cope with emergencies without thinking too much," he told the court.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Andrew Hill survived the crash, but his defence say he does not remember what happened

Mr Hill, 54, flew the jet six times at Shoreham's air show.

It is the prosecution's case that during the loop manoeuvre he should have been aware he was not flying high enough or fast enough to complete it safely, and should have used such an escape manoeuvre at the top of the loop.

Karim Khalil QC, defending, previously asserted Mr Hill was suffering from "cognitive impairment" and could not remember what happened immediately before the crash.

At an earlier hearing, the court heard a statement from paramedic Mark Durham in which he said Mr Hill would have blacked out at some point in the seconds before the plane crashed.

The trial continues.

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