Shorham Airshow pilot may have been ‘fixated’ on road before crash

Andrew Hill. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Andrew Hill. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
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THE Shoreham Airshow disaster pilot may have become ‘fixated’ on the road his plane crashed into as he realised the stunt was doomed, a court has heard.

Andrew Hill crashed a Hawker Hunter aircraft onto the A27 after a failed loop manoeuvre during his display in 2015, killing 11 men.

The 1950s fighter jet plummeted on to the West Sussex dual carriageway in a ball of flames at 1.22pm on August 22.

At the Old Bailey on Thursday, Karim Khalil QC, for Hill, questioned expert witness Jonathon Whaley, asking: ‘I think you acknowledged you could understand how a pilot may become fixated with something like a road.

‘What's going on when someone is narrowly focused on that?’

Mr Whaley, an experienced display pilot, replied it could come about once a pilot realises mid-stunt that ‘things are not looking good’.

He said: ‘If you've got something like that in front of you I could imagine that becomes a focus of your concentration, not looking left or right.

‘I would imagine this would be the focus of you attention.

‘This is when it's becoming apparent that things aren't going well.’

Hill, a trained Royal Air Force instructor, who was a British Airways captain at the time, was thrown clear of the aircraft but taken to hospital with serious injuries and placed into an induced coma before being discharged.

Regarding proper planning around the fatal display, Mr Whaley agreed with Mr Khalil that ‘everything about the preparation for the display for Shoreham in 2015 appears to have been entirely proper and professional’.

Hill, 54, of Sandon, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, is standing trial after denying 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The trial, before Mr Justice Edis, continues.