Monday, 14 March 2016

A personal response to the AAIB report on the Shoreham Airshow disaster

       Hello and welcome to my blog. Last week saw the publication of the interim Air Accidents Investigation Branch report on the RAFA Shoreham Airshow disaster.
     The investigation's purpose was clearly stated in the report;

"The sole objective of the investigation...  is the prevention of future accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose of such an investigation to apportion blame or liability.
Accordingly, it is inappropriate that AAIB reports should be used to assign fault or blame or determine liability, since neither the investigation nor the reporting process has been undertaken for that purpose." (AAIB Bulletin S1/2016 Special)

      Yet the moment it was published, the scalp-hunters descended. The organisers were the obvious target. It was implied that at best, they were incompetent, at worse, complacent. Commentators forgot that these organisers are also members of our community; dedicated volunteers who had raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for RAFA in bygone years. 
     By pandering to the blame culture, the raison d'etre of the AAIB investigation was ignored. In so doing, the press also missed the fact that the investigation meant that the victims had not die in vain. 

(L-R top row Matt Jones, Matthew Grimstone, Jacob Schilt, Daniele Polito, Mark Trussler, Graham Mallison L-R bottom row, Maurice Abrahams, Mark Reeves, Richard Smith, Dylan Archer and Tony Brightwell courtesy of The Telegraph online)

     Because they died, weaknesses in CAA processes and procedures have been revealed. These weaknesses can now be eliminated or strengthened and safety at UK airshows improved. Despite the tragedy of their deaths, these men have left a huge legacy and one of which the families should be proud and we should be grateful.  The focus should be on that and not on finding scapegoats. 
     Thanks for dropping by and see you soon with an update on my preparation for the London Book Fair. 

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