Shoreham Airshow pilot Andy Hill: 'I am known' for safety preparation

Andy Hill was piloting the Hawker Hunter jet when it crashed on the A27. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe / Stringer
Andy Hill was piloting the Hawker Hunter jet when it crashed on the A27. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe / Stringer

Shoreham Airshow crash pilot Andy Hill says he is known for his safety preparations before stunt displays.

Hill, 54, of Standon Road, Buntingford, denies 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The Hawker Hunter jet before it crashed in 2015. Picture: Sussex Police/CPS

The Hawker Hunter jet before it crashed in 2015. Picture: Sussex Police/CPS

He took the witness stand this morning wearing a dark suit and tie and answered questions from defence barrister Karim Khalil QC.

He claimed he was not a 'cavalier or thrill-seeking' pilot when it came to safety.

Speaking this afternoon he claimed he was in 'total control' at a practice in Duxford in 2015, despite accusations that he had breached height restrictions.

Andy Hill claims he was 'known for' his safety preparations

Hill restated his view that he was not a risk-taker as a flyer.

He said: "The case management has churned up lots and lots of paperwork of many details and preparations and planning for displays.

"I think I am known for it."

Successful loop stunts at other airshows in 2015

The jury were shown footage of Andy Hill flying the Hunter at earlier displays.

The videos show him piloting the jet in a series of stunts, including successful loop manoeuvres.

Hill had been flying the Hunter for about three years when it crashed at Shoreham in August 2015.

Flying over the M11 motorway during a practice?

Hill was asked about a practice in the Hunter that he flew at Duxford.

Questioned about allegations that he overflew the M11 too low, and flew over the crowd line, Hill said he had no concerns about his flying.

Hill told the jury that if he did overfly the museum, it was at above 500ft - the specified safety limit.

He trial heard that while flying at the Duxford practice, he received a warning of 'display line' over his communications. However in a debrief after the caller apologised to him for misinterpreting what he had been about to do.

Asked by Mr Khalil if he had any concerns about his flying that day, Hill said he was in 'total control' the whole time.

Awarded RAF veteran

Earlier today the trial heard that Hill saw active service in the RAF in Iraq flying Harrier jets in the 1990s.

Also during his time in the military, Hill won an award for a computer program he wrote in order to boost safety in the Harrier.

READ MORE: Shoreham Airshow trial: Prosecutor finishes case against pilot Andy Hill

The prosecution allege that 'pilot error' led to the crash that killed 11 people.

However Hill's defence team say he was cognitively impaired during the flight leading up to the disaster and was not in control.

The case is in its fifth week and is expected to continue hearing evidence until early March.

The trial continues.