CAA issues final report on air displays

The minimum altitude for ex-military aircraft performing aerobatic manouevres at airshows has been increased to 500ft as part of a range of measures drawn up by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in its final report on air displays following last year’s Shoreham Airshow accident. The current grounding of UK civilian Hawker Hunter jets continues for the time-being.

The report is available here.

The report builds on measures already announced by the CAA in January. They include enhanced risk assessments for displays and strengthening requirements for areas such as training and checks for those overseeing displays and the experience, skill and health of display pilots.

The additional measures include:

  • Strengthening post-display reporting requirements to reflect the importance of feedback and safety reporting from air displays
  • Increasing the distance between the display line and crowd line for any situations where distances were previously less than those in place for military displays
  • Increasing the minimum altitude at which ex-military jet aircraft can undertake aerobatic manoeuvres; and
  • Strengthening the competency requirements for pilots performing aerobatic manoeuvres in civil registered, ex-military jet aircraft.

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.”

The CAA’s Civil Air Display Review has been overseen by a challenge panel, put in place to scrutinise and critique the CAA’s work. The panel was chaired by Geoffrey Podger, former Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive.

Following the publication of the final report, the CAA’s ongoing implementation, oversight and commitment to working with the display community to make sure air shows have the highest levels of safety will continue. All the changes included in today’s final report, as well as those announced in January, will be reviewed at the end of the 2016 air display season, when we will seek the views of those involved in air displays for feedback. The CAA will also consider if further changes and enhancements are required following the future publication of the AAIB report into the Shoreham accident.

The CAA has also reiterated that restrictions introduced immediately after the Shoreham accident will remain in place until the final AAIB report into the accident is published and the CAA can review its findings. Those restrictions were:

  • Grounding all UK civilian Hunter aircraft
  • Restricting the display manoeuvres of similar ex-military jet aircraft over land to fly-pasts only
  • Requiring additional risk assessments for displays.

The final report of the Civil Air Display Review is available here.


  1. Your headline is incorrect – it’s the final report into their review of airshow safety and management, not Shoreham.

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