A graphic video showing a fighter jet crashing onto a dual carriageway and exploding has been shown at the trial of the man who was flying the plane, as his defence say he “may have been suffering from cognitive impairment”.
Some 11 people died in the crash, and pilot Andrew Hill, 54, of Sandon, Hertfordshire, was unable to watch the footage, as he sat in the dock.
Members of the public gallery put their hands over their eyes, and watched through the cracks in their fingers as the Fifties Hawker Hunter swooped up into its fateful loop, rising into the blue sky, before plunging towards the ground, unable to complete its rotation.
During the video, a television commentator said: “That is such a beautiful airplane.” Seconds later, it was engulfed in a huge fireball on the carriageway.
Aviation expert, Jonathon Whaley, said it was “a cardinal sin”, to try and complete the move, instead of pulling out.
One witness, David Evans, a member of the flying display committee at Shoreham, told the jury “I thought ‘my God this doesn’t look very good’,” as he saw Mr Hill attempt the aerobatic stunt.
“In my opinion the plane was too low to complete the manoeuvre. The moment the nose started going towards the ground and it was clear it was continuing, I was concerned.”