The accident was notified to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) by Shoreham Airport Air Traffic Control (ATC) shortly after it occurred; an AAIB field investigation was commenced immediately.
The Hurricane aircraft, G-HURR, was taking part in a flying display and was following another Hurricane in a tail chase. Both aircraft flew past the spectators along the display line at a height of approximately 200 ft before tracking to the north-west and climbing. The lead Hurricane climbed to approximately 1,100 ft above ground level (agl), pitched nose-up about 45º and rolled to the left through 270º, before pulling into a right turn to rejoin the display line. The second Hurricane, which was approximately 700 ft agl, pitched nose-up about 15º, before rolling to the left. As it reached the inverted position, the roll stopped, the nose dropped and the aircraft entered a steep dive. It struck the ground, fatally injuring the pilot. The aircraft was destroyed by the ground impact and subsequent fire.
The pilot appeared to have attempted to follow the manoeuvre flown by the leading pilot. Although the airspeed was adequate, the aircraft had insufficient nose-up pitch attitude at the point of entry to ensure the safe execution of the manoeuvre in the height available. When the aircraft was inverted, the roll stopped, the nose dropped and insufficient height was available to recover from the dive.
The investigation identified the following causal factors:
The accident probably occurred as a result of the pilot attempting an unplanned rolling manoeuvre.
When the manoeuvre was commenced, the airspeed was adequate, but the nose-up pitch attitude was insufficient to enable the manoeuvre to be completed safely in the height available.
When the roll stopped in the inverted position, the aircraft’s nose dropped rapidly and there was insufficient height available for the recovery manoeuvre the pilot attempted.
As a result of this accident six Safety Recommendations are made.
Download full report:
6-2009 G-HURR.pdf (658.64 kb)