Belfast Telegraph

Portrush Air Show set to go on despite Shoreham crash

By David Young

Next week's Portrush Air Show will go ahead as planned despite the deadly Shoreham disaster, according to organisers.

The event, which takes place on September 5 and 6, will also be unaffected by safety regulations announced yesterday.

The new rules ban vintage aircraft from carrying out acrobatic manoeuvres including looping the loop - the stunt the plane in Saturday's tragedy was performing when it crashed.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has secured the services of aviation and airshow specialists to ensure Air Waves Portrush conforms to the Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA) and military standards.

Council director Richard Baker said: "The event adheres to all civil and military airshow regulations and is overseen by a team which has experience in a large number of airshows and ground events.

"The Air Waves flying display is carried out in a controlled environment and is predominantly over water, which is a significant risk mitigation factor.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost their lives (and those who) are injured."

The CAA placed the new restrictions on airshows as authorities continued to investigate the horrific disaster in Shoreham.

The new rules mean flying displays by vintage jets will be "significantly restricted until further notice", the regulator said.

Displays by older aircraft over land will also be limited to fly-pasts, meaning that high-energy acrobatics are banned for the foreseeable future.

The last airworthy Vulcan V-bomber will make its final appearance at the Portrush event, where it will be joined by a host of Second World War aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, including a Spitfire and a Hurricane fighter.

The show will also feature an appearance by the Sally B - the last airworthy American B17 Flying Fortress in Europe - which starred in the Hollywood film Memphis Belle.

In addition to that, the Red Arrows are scheduled to make an appearance at the event on the picturesque north coast.

The Hawker Hunter T7 that crashed at the show in West Sussex, England, on Saturday appeared at Foynes Air Show, near Limerick, just three weeks ago, where it flown by the same pilot, Andy Hill.

He is now fighting for his life after being put into a medically-induced coma in hospital.

Mr Hill was pulled from the wreckage of his aircraft after his plane crashed and exploded into a fireball on the busy A27 road near Shoreham Airfield.

So far, 11 people have been confirmed to have died in the tragedy, but authorities fear the death toll will rise as the charred wreckage of the 1950s fighter jet is cleared from the scene.

Belfast Telegraph


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