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Brooklands Museum cancels air shows

Rebecca Atkinson, 22.09.2015
New restrictions introduced by Civil Aviation Authority
Brooklands Museum in Surrey has cancelled two air displays as a result of the enhanced risk assessments being conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The aviation regulator announced a series of restrictions and changes to UK civil air displays following the Shoreham Airshow disaster on 22 August, in which a vintage Hawker Hunter aircraft crashed onto the A27 in Sussex, killing 11 people.
The new restrictions mean that no further flights by Hawker Hunter aircraft may take place. Flying displays over land by vintage jet aircraft will be limited to flypasts, and high-energy aerobatics will no longer be permitted.

The CAA is also conducting additional risk assessments on all forthcoming civil air displays to establish if additional measures should be introduced. A spokesman for the regulator said that small changes had been made to a number of air shows as a result of the new risk assessments.

These include two air shows at Brooklands Museum on 20 and 27 September, which were cancelled after the CAA identified the museum as being located in a “particularly congested area”.
“We will be discussing options for future flying displays here with the CAA as soon as possible,” said Allan Winn, the museum’s director and chief executive officer. “Although we are very disappointed that we have had to cancel these displays, we fully understand the increased caution being shown by the CAA.

"The safety of people – whether our neighbours, display pilots or our own visitors, staff and volunteers – and property must be paramount in considering such issues.”

The Hawker Hunter aircraft that caused the crash at Shoreham was due to perform at the Imperial War Museums (IWM) Duxford’s Battle of Britain commemorations on 19 and 20 September.

Although the air show went ahead, a spokeswoman for the museum said that the flying routes were altered slightly on the advice of the CAA. Pilots were told to avoid flying over junctions on the M11, due to the increased potential for congestion, although the planes did fly over the motorway and the nearby A505.

The majority of planes taking part in the IWM Duxford’s Battle of Britain show were propeller driven, and therefore the CAA’s enhanced restrictions did not apply.

Many museums, including the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, held their annual air shows before 22 August and have not yet been affected by the new restrictions.

The CAA is carrying out a review of its flying displays and special events guidance, and will produce an interim report by the end of October and a final report early in 2016.

The review will evaluate existing guidance on flying displays and special events, and the danger they may pose to the public. The age and condition of aircraft may be considered, alongside the content of air displays and the location of venues.