Shoreham air crash: Pilot denies flying near buildings

Andy Hill arriving at court on first day of defence - 13/2/19 Image copyright PA
Image caption Andrew Hill denies 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence

A pilot accused of killing 11 men in the Shoreham air crash has rejected claims he flew too close to buildings at previous displays.

During cross examination at the Old Bailey, Andrew Hill, 54, defended his performances at three air shows.

He is accused of "serious negligence" when flying the Hawker Hunter jet which crashed on 22 August 2015.

The court has heard he has no memory of the crash, and denies 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Mr Hill, from Sandon in Hertfordshire, denied claims he had flown too close to buildings in a display at Duxford and the 2014 Shoreham Airshow.

Prosecutor Tom Kark QC claimed he flew over the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and then in 2014 too close to Lancing College at Shoreham.

After showing footage of the 2014 flight, he said: "You were about to fly over Lancing College."

Mr Hill said he did not agree.

The court heard in an earlier statement that Mr Hill had said: "I'm surprised by how far away from Lancing College I was."

Mr Hill also denied carrying out "a dangerous manoeuvre" at Southport in 2014.

Mr Kark said: "This is 23 September 2014, three weeks after the Duxford practice, two and a half weeks after Shoreham, seven days after the Duxford show.

"We have looked at the various criticisms. I think it's fair to say you don't accept any of them - overflying the Imperial War Museum, overflying Lancing College."

Mr Hill replied: "I'm totally happy I was a significant distance from Lancing College."

Referring to the museum claim, Mr Hill said: "I can't confirm or deny it from the evidence I have seen."

Image copyright Sussex Police/CPS
Image caption Andrew Hill's Hawker Hunter jet was too low when he performed a loop, the court has been told

Mr Kark reminded jurors the court had previously heard from test pilot Dave Southwood, a prosecution expert witness, that the Hawker Hunter should have a minimum "jet pipe temperature" - the temperature in the exhaust pipe - of at least 580C before take off, and checking it was required as part of the permit to fly.

He said Mr Hill had taken off for the Duxford and Shoreham flights for 2014 at around 550C.

Mr Kark told the court Mr Southwood had said if the temperature did not reach the minimum on take off it "can indicate a problem, that the engine is not getting full power... that means you can run out of runway and crash".

Mr Hill said he had not been taught that element of aircraft maintenance and the requirement was not in his edition of the pilot's notes, so he did not check the minimum temperature on take off, only the maximum.

Mr Kark told the court the requirement was also printed on flight reference cards Mr Hill carried in his pocket during the Shoreham air show in 2015.

Mr Hill insisted he had never seen this rule and said: "I for whatever reason had not picked this up."

The trial continues.

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