The pilot whose aircraft crashed onto the A27 near Shoreham has been acquitted of manslaughter in relation to the deaths of eleven people.
Andrew Hill's ex-military Hawker Hunter jet aircraft crashed onto the road while performing at the Shoreham Airshow. All of those killed in the incident were on the road.
Although a 2017 report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) found that pilot error was the main cause of the crash, Mr Hill’s defence argued that he had been suffering from ‘cognitive impairment’ at the time.
The BBC reported that Mr Hill read out the names of all 11 victims outside the court and said: ‘I'm truly sorry for the part I played in their deaths and it's they I will remember for the rest of my life.’
According to the BBC, Sue and Phil Grimstone, whose son Matthew died in the crash, asked: ‘Why are we allowing any form of aerobatics to be performed when there is now doubt concerning any pilot's ability to avoid becoming cognitively impaired from the normal G forces that will be experienced during an aerobatic display?’
The AAIB report found that the plane was carrying out a manoeuvre that ‘commenced from a height lower than the pilot’s authorised minimum for aerobatics, at an airspeed below his stated minimum, and proceeded with less than maximum thrust’.
‘This resulted in the aircraft achieving a height at the top of the manoeuvre less than the minimum required to complete it safely, at a speed that was slower than normal.’
The report added that it was possible to abort the manoeuvre safely at this point but that it appeared the pilot did not recognise that the aircraft was too low. It suggested ‘several credible explanations’ for this, including not reading the altimeter correctly and ‘incorrectly recalling the minimum height required at the apex’.