New Safety Regulations Following Shoreham Airshow Disaster

The aviation regulator has published its final report into how safety regulations will be tightened at UK air shows following the Shoreham disaster.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has increased the minimum altitude at which ex-military jets can perform aerobatic manoeuvres, increased the minimum distance of separation between a civil display and a crowd, and strengthened the requirements for post-display reports in a bid to improve the quality of feedback on safety issues.

Earlier this year the regulator announced other regulations such as enhanced risk assessments and tougher checks on the experience, skill and health of pilots.

John Turner, chairman of the British Air Display Association (BADA), said the measures will improve safety ``in some circumstances'' as long as they are clearly explained.

He told the Press Association: ``Providing the intent behind the review is translated into effective, clear and concise guidance then absolutely it will (improve safety).

``If there is any confusion left in the minds of people who are displaying or organising, then that will make me wonder whether or not it is effective.''

The CAA plans to increase its event charges to cover the cost of implementing the new safety measures, but the rise will be phased in over three years with 50% payable this year.

The Keep Air Shows Airborne campaign called for the costs to be met with Lottery funding for air shows raising money for charity, and for any increase in fees to be postponed until next year.

Organisers of the Sywell air show in Northamptonshire have already cancelled this year's event, citing ``the likelihood of much higher CAA fees'' as one of the factors.

The Manchester air show is also not taking place this year, with officials blaming the timing of the safety review.

This year's Shoreham air show has been cancelled out of respect for those affected by last year's disaster which occurred when a Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 in West Sussex on August 22.

Steps taken in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy - such as 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.

Dame Deirdre Hutton, chair of the CAA, said: ``We began this review immediately after the accident at Shoreham last summer with the sole purpose of doing all that we can to make UK civil air shows even safer.

``It has been an extensive review, looking closely at all aspects of air show safety to identify any areas where the system can be strengthened.

``Air shows are enjoyed by millions of people up and down the country and we want them to be successful.

``And while we recognise implementing these changes will require significant work from the air show community, we believe they are essential to enhancing the safety of UK air shows and safety must always be the top priority.

``We are already working with the air show community to make sure these measures are implemented for the upcoming display season and beyond, and so that the public has every confidence that UK air shows meet the highest safety standards.''

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