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Margaret Thatcher


Shoreham Hawker Hunter Crash

Who said the Campaign Against Aviation moves at a snail's pace? Give them a suitable bandwagon and they can move like lightning - shame they only move so fast when they try to stop things. Obviously there's a NIMBY or two who have infiltrated. Not many people have anything good to say about the CAA, certainly I don't, and their latest attempt to destroy the British Air Show industry and ground historical aircraft is reprehensible. It's time to clear out some deadwood at the Campaign Against Aviation and instead get back to reality.
MILLIONS of people attend and enjoy air displays every year, THOUSANDS are no doubt calling for them to be cancelled in the wake of the Hunter crash near Shoreham. Why is it that always the wishes of the minority are given priority? Except in elections of course when the majority chooses which party will ignore their wishes.....! It is nothing less than obscene that British enthusiasts and aircrew will have to go overseas to display their vintage aircraft or watch decent air displays not emasculated by the CAA. I remember how air displays used to be in the 1960s and 1970s, and have for many years since missed being able to get up close and enjoy proper flying displays. Now with increased regulation comes an accident which kills many people, so what does that say? Certainly not that air shows are safer with more restrictions. One accident to spectators / others in over 60 years? How many other recreational pursuits could boast such a low figure? How many people die in car crashes every day, how many commercial aircraft crash, and how many of them happen at or close to airports, killing people who were not involved? It is so easy to ban anything or everything in a knee jerk reaction to an accident, but why not find out what really kills spectators or innocent bystanders. Why not ban flying completely, that would save thousands of lives around the world each year, or what about other more risky pursuits.
Some uninformed people have suggested all displays take place over the sea, what a wonderful idea...... until somebody crashes onto a boat full of freeloading spectators of course. NOTHING in this life is without risk, we live with it every day, all of us, but we also enjoy going out and enjoying ourselves. Millions enjoy air displays, despite CAA interference, so gross overreaction after this accident is a pathetic slap in the face for all of them. Vintage aircraft are our heritage and these days there are far fewer modern aircraft available to take part in displays thanks to the savage cuts to the RAF budget, no Fleet Air Arm to speak of after the Sea Harriers were scrapped, and far fewer Army Air Corps. Foreign armed forces are in a similar state as cost-cutting is now rampant. So civil aircraft or historic types are what must take their place. The RAF is in a perilous state these days. An example is that each year there was a display at RAF Waddington, except in 2015 it was cancelled because of runway repair work. Aircraft operated from nearby RAF Coningsby while the work was completed. However, because of budget cuts and lack of cash this work  continued into a second year, with no air show that year either! Is this how to manage your country's defences? We have precious few operational RAF bases now anyway after the last few decades of continual cuts. Would Gatwick (single runway) close for two years to facilitate runway repairs? Or Heathrow (two runways) operate at half capacity for two years? Of course not, but the military have no choice because the government has no commitment to defending the country or its people. I have just watched a total imbecile called Mark Swan on BBC positively itching to tell us how keen the CAA are to restrict flying displays in the UK. He should know better, having apparently once been a pilot. Probably flew Chipmunks for an AEF! Restrictions and regulations should be a LAST resort, not a FIRST, do we really want to live in a country where our incompetent officials act first and think later? Swan was asked if he had liased with anybody representing Air Show organisers. He looked surprised and replied of course not - which says it all really. Paying such people far too much just to ride roughshod over everybody and mire them in ever more rules and regulations is money wasted. We need a CAN DO culture, not a CAN NOT DO!
Defy the Campaign Against Aviation, don't let them win, freedom is what we need, restrictions are what they offer...... I know what I want!
UPDATE (March 2016)
Now the AAIB (normally informed and useful) is in on the act, not with a report on what actually caused the crash, oh no. Rather their own stupid comments on subjects such as the aircraft technical manual not being updated after it was withdrawn from military service. Errrr.... and who would do that, and why? What has changed technically with the Hunters left flying since their retirement? And exactly how did this situation cause the crash? Or maybe briefly flying over a built up area caused the crash? Or was it the magnetic appeal of a group of spectators on the M27? Just some of the ridiculous observations made by the AAIB instead of focusing on their real job of identifying the cause and preventing a repeat. The CAA certainly don't need any help from the AAIB in producing red tape or obstructing aviators and the general public. They have plenty of idiots like Mark Swan ready to jump at the chance.
LATEST (March 2017)
Well, what a surprise, the official report confirms pilot error, something we all knew the day it happened, but now at least it is official. So all the CAA red herrings should be laid to rest, but they will not of course. They will continue to bleat about more restrictions rather than the cause of the accident. Pilot error is not rare, happens every day, although thankfully with few errors leading to death or catastrophe. However those in the industry know the truth, that pilots are human, as are we all, not some infallible super heroes that never make mistakes. So accidents, yes ACCIDENTS, will happen, as in every pursuit, ranging from an angler drowning after being swept from rocks by a wave to dozens of people being killed at a F1 race, or by a rally car driving into spectators. But these sports or entertainments continue, we do not ban them when something goes wrong, or restrict them to such a degree that they wither away. We do not close Heathrow Airport because there is an air crash in Russia do we? If a pilot is wilfully reckless he should be punished, if an accident occurs as a result of third party action or technical failure the cause should be identified and addressed. Stopping an activity or making it uneconomic, the route chosen by the Campaign Against Aviation, is the action of jobsworths and should NEVER be allowed. Those responsible should be sacked and their interfering actions reversed.