An article I wrote shortly after the Shoreham air crash:
Imagine you’re driving down the road laughing along to Radio 1, excited to be seeing your relatives for the first time in months who live a good couple of hours away from you. Your beautiful wife (or husband) is sat next to you with her (or his) bare feet up on the dashboard and your kids are both asleep in the back looking as angelic as ever; all strapped in and safe, travel-sickness bands on and everything. Occasionally, your wife (or husband) gives you the latest Facebook update: “Your Aunty’s just posted a picture of the planes from her house.” Life is good.
Then, BAMMM! A giant fireball of a plane lands on the road in front of you and that’s the story of you…
Shoreham air crash: Man films Hunter hitting A27 road (BBC)
Fortunately, I wasn’t travelling on the A27 on Saturday 22 August 2015 to visit my Aunty and Uncle, who live in Shoreham, when a 1950s Hawker Hunter jet crashed into traffic during The Shoreham Air Show, but numerous others were and, tragically, at least 11 of them have lost their lives as a result. And they are not the only ones of late; at CarFest North, Cheshire, the pilot of a Folland Gnat aircraft died when his plane came down on 01 August 2015, and there is a long list of accidents and incidents at air shows around the world. Also, on 20 June 2015, a video of a Red Devil skydiver being caught in mid-air and saved by one of his team-mates went viral after his parachute became tangled during a performance at The Whitehaven Air Show.
Now, is all of this aeronautical acrobatics worth it?
When compared to the number of deaths from terrorist attacks in the UK this year, air shows have been far more dangerous (there have been no reported terrorist attacks so far this year > See). Tony Blair and his government invaded a whole country for less than the threat that air shows pose. Although, we still don’t know the reason why Tony Blair went to “war” with Iraq because of the deliberate inefficiency of the Chilcot Inquiry. Where are those weapons of mass destruction again, Tony? Tone?
The Tony Blair ‘selfie’ (Guardian)
By Tony Blair’s logic, our terrorist threat level should always be at critical (because the air shows are already here) and we should have the army invading air shows across the country; boots on the ground as both David Cameron and Barack Obama like to say, typically referring to sending troops into Middle-Eastern countries to remove dictators. Libya, that went well, didn’t it? Tony Blair, David Cameron and Barack Obama would all have the RAF carpet bombing air shows here, there and everywhere, or drone-striking civilians in case they might be a reckless pilot; collateral damage they would say.
So, should we declare war on air shows? We already have a war on terror (foreign terror not our terror) and a war on drugs (not if you’re rich, though, or a politician). Air shows are the real enemy!