The magnificent four-hour long flying display held over Penarth Esplanade for the 2015 Summer Festival could well turn out to be the last time such an event is held featuring jet aircraft.
In the wake of the tragic Shoreham air crash in September last year, new tighter restrictions on air shows across the UK are to be introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority which – it’s expected – will increase the costs for organisers and participating aircraft.
It is also likely to become much more expensive to organise insurance-cover for such events.
A total of 11 people were killed when a Hawker Hunter vintage jet performing at the Shoreham Air Show crashed on a main road . The interim report into the incident – just published – says that show’s organisers were “unaware” of the pilot’s display plans and had failed to carry out a proper risk assessment.
Last year’s Penarth Summer Festival predated the Shoreham crash. The festival was the 50th to be held and all the stops were pulled out to make it a memorable day – which it certainly was .
The highlight for many at the Penarth Summer Festival was the display by the last airworthy Vulcan V-Bomber which thrilled the crowds with manouevers many thought just wasn’t possible in such a huge machine.
The display aircraft at Penarth’s Summer Festival were all routed to fly over the sea but as it was high-tide that afternoon it meant that many aircraft came close to the crowds on the sea front. There were several aerobatic performances which appeared at times to be close to, but never directly above the Esplanade.
On Wednesday night this week – before the outcome of the Shoreham interim report was published – the Deputy Town Clerk of Penarth Keri Hutchings had asked the members of the Policy and Finance Committee to include “Events” – including the Summer Festival and Air Show in the council’s annual “Risk Management Report ”
The Risk Management Report covers all council activities including the employment of staff, entertainment and the arts, Penarth cemetery, secure storage, health and safety and financial management.
Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) told committee members he had heard that there had been “a lot of worries about air displays” and that some “North coast resorts” were having a great deal of trouble in getting insurance. He said this matter might need to be discussed as a separate item [at a later date].
The Deputy Town Clerk’s suggestion of setting up events as a separate category of the council’s risk management procedures was accepted by the committee
Elsewhere some of the 200 planned air shows due to take place in the UK this summer have already been cancelled because of the uncertainty and higher fees being brought in by the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority .
New – tighter- rules now apply to vintage jets like the Hawker Hunter restricting them just to simple flypasts rather than aerobatics. Meanwhile the Vulcan which thrilled the crowds at Penarth last year has been grounded and will never fly again.