So... first of all RIP to all people involved in the crash. All crashes are horrible and when people from the public are involved it is always a sad thing.
As usual on this site there is lots of analysis going on, and not all of it is good so from my limited knowledge i would like to clear up a few things...without drawing conclusions.
(twin seat) WV372 was an ex RAF trainer and removed from service mid-90's. Has been a syndicated aircraft for a while before being bought by its current owner and was based at North Weald (north of London).
It is kept in prestine condition and aircraft have a strict maintenance schedule, even while flying relatively few hours every year (20-30 hrs per year). This means these aircraft get a lot of maintenance man hours because some parts are calendar based (seals, hoses, ejection seat pyro's etc..). This means parts get removed even if they have very few flying hours on them.
Identified as Andy Hill. One of the top display pilots in the UK, with RAF (Harrier) background and many years of Hunter Display flying. This brings us to the "unplanned" part of the comments... In display flying there is no such thing as "unplanned". Displays are rehearsed, checked by people who need to "certify" that the display is safe for the public. This process is called a "Display Authorization or DA". These days it is not possible ot fly an airshow without a DA and on top of having this, the display pilot also needs to be current with a number of displays flow per month, otherwise a workup and recertification follows.
The hard deck :
Hard deck is defined by the manouvre flown. it can be straight and level or aerobatic and is also defined by the experience of the display pilot. Several levels exist. Pilots start out with a 500 ft base level and gradually are allowed to lower the hard deck.
I do not have the compete information but altimeter setting is always checked. If the aircraft came direct from North Weald (don't know this) then he left at 322ft while Shoreham is 7ft. Even if he were flying QFE (doubt it) and didn't reset his altimeter for local QFE at Shoreham he would have "spare altitude"
|Quoting larshjort (Reply 57):|
This is from the accident report of a Mk.6A chrashing 12 years ago
Not really good to compare systems as you are comparing a "big engine" Hunter F.6A
(XF516) with a small engine Hunter (WV372). While the F.6A
was powered by a 201 series Avon engine with about 10.000 lbs of thrust, the T.7 had the smaller 122 series Avon with 7500 lbs of thrust. Along with different engines came different systems and accessories.
|Quoting jlager2 (Reply 72):|
Thanks for the clarification i've done some research on the hawker hunter and the elevators are located on the underside of the wings adjacent to the ailerons. They don't appear to be engaged in the image although they are clearly shown in the earlier part of the manoeuvre. (Edit: on photos from behind these can be seen to be deployed)Just looking at other forums, this aircraft apparently has a history of fuel leaks from this tank and is shown as pluming in previous displays. Maybe nothing but definitely seems to be trailing a plume of some sort and has had post season maintenance issues
The elevators of a Hunter are on the rear end of the horizontal tailplane. I believe you are confusing with flaps, which are at the bottom side of the wing, inboard of the ailerons. The hunter can use 10 degrees of flap throughout the flight envelope and these are routinely used for manouvering, hence called manouvering flaps. Look at any clips of hunters doing display flying and you will always see a bit of flaps. That is normal.
The mention of fuel leak will be determined by investigation. having looked over the video several times, i don't see the leak and the photo is kind of grainy but whatever it is.. if there is a fuel leak it will not affect the flying qualities of the aircraft. There was another aircraft a few years ago (won't tell which one) which developed a quite significant fuel leak and continued its display without problem.
Please remember that a Hunter is an early generation jet which has push-pull tubes for flight controls, which are assisted by a hydraulic booster unit. It means even without this hydraulic assistance it is possible to fly the aircraft (with a bit of muscle power).
There are likely things and things which seem obvious but it would not be correct towards the pilot and towards those people who lost their lives to jump to conclusions. Altimeter Settings, wrong altitude, birdstrike, mechanical failure,... are all possible but lets leave those conclusions to the professionals of AAIB. We lost lives, a highly experienced display pilot is fighting for his life, and we lost a beautiful bird. Lets see what comes out.
Sadly as always people will start screaming about risks of old airplanes, dangers of airshows and reckless people... as usual these are just people who have no clue about flying, display flying or the servicing of aircraft such as the Hunter.
Let's just keep Andy in our thoughts and hope he pulls through. That in itself would be a little miracle.