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J2 Provides Analysis to Support Not Guilty Verdict in Shoreham Air Crash Trial.

j2 were instructed as an expert witness to provide forensic engineering analysis in the recent trial of Andrew Hill at the Old Bailey. During the trial the prosecution stated that Mr Hill had inadequate power as he approached the next planned manoeuvres a “bent loop”, and failed to execute an escape manoeuvre at the apex. Defence experts suggested that any flying errors were not wilful but resulted from “cognitive impairment” while at the controls, that possibly could have been caused by of hypoxia due to exposure to G-force.

J2 were requested, by the Defence, to undertake a detailed examination of the G-forces that could have been experienced by Mr Hill during the display. Through the use of aircraft modelling and flight physics analyses, j2 were able to demonstrate that the G-forces experienced by the pilot were in excess of 4.5G and significantly higher than the “G levels, being between 2.5G and 2.9G”, that was originally presented as part of the prosecution evidence. Further, sustained G during manoeuvres prior to the final loop was in the range likely to lead to hypoxic cognitive impairment. Despite the prosecution continually moving the goalposts on the agreed airspeed and flight path of the aircraft, j2 were able to keep up with the demands from both prosecution and defence, running and re-running analyses to provide sufficient forensic engineering evidence to have their methodology and the resulting G-force profile accepted by both sides.

J2 were able to provide data opposing the prosecution’s case that flaps were deployed by Mr Hill at the apex of the loop. The data calculated from flight modelling and the available radar data points, demonstrated that not only could flap not have been deployed at the apex but that the angle of attack was low and no attempt was made to “pull-through” at, or for some time after the apex.

Defence Barrister Stephen Spence said: “The prosecution witnesses had come up with G-force figures significantly lower to begin with. In the light of your report they eventually accepted and agreed that the correct figures were higher. Your help with the case was invaluable.”

J2 remain fully aware of the fact that 11 people lost their lives in this tragic and unfortunate accident, but they were also mindful of their duty to the court to provide professional, accurate, meaningful and impartial technical evidence.

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