A jury watched footage of the Shoreham air show crash at the Central Criminal Court – better known as the Old Bailey – in London today (Thursday 17 January).
Some of the footage was filmed from inside the cockpit of the 1955 Hawker Hunter fighter jet showing its final moments – and some was shot by spectators.
The pilot, Andrew “Andy” Hill, 54, is on trial at the Old Bailey charged with 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence. He denies all 11 charges.
Hill filmed the cockpit footage on a GoPro camera mounted behind his seat. It showed him perform a flypast parallel to Shoreham Airport’s runway before inverting his vintage aircraft, showing the land below.
The former Royal Air Force flying instructor then performed a stunt known as a Derry roll before carrying out the fatal loop that ended in a devastating fireball on the A27.
The footage made public today was shot by others as they watched the horror unfold, along with a graphic reconstruction of a textbook loop over Shoreham airport compared with the manoeuvre carried out by Hill.
Tom Kark, prosecuting, said that Hill, of Sandon, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, was responsible for a catalogue of errors.
Hill, a former British Airways (BA) captain and ex-Royal Air Force (RAF) fast jet pilot, watched the footage from the dock but lowered his head just before the impact.
Relatives of the 11 men who died looked on from the packed public gallery.
When rescuers arrived, Hill said that he could not remember or did not know what had happened but felt terrible and had been feeling unwell.
Mr Kark said: “The aircraft crashed as a result of Mr Hill’s negligence and as such this breach of duty caused the deaths of 11 men.
“Having regard to the serious and obvious risk of death, the negligence of Mr Hill was truly exceptional and such as to amount to the criminal offence of gross negligence manslaughter.”
Karim Khalil, defending, said that criticisms of Hill were either wrong or misplaced and that Hill had no memory of the crash, possibly because of “cognitive impairment”.
Mr Khalil said: “Pilot error does not explain what happened here at all.
“He is not a cavalier pilot and not a pilot who, as is suggested, plays fast and loose. Quite the contrary. He did not deliberately fail to take evasive action.”
The trial, which is expected to last up to eight weeks, continues.