KEVIN WhYman

A jury has reached the decision that the flying experience of a pilot, who crashed while performing an aerobatic manoeuvre at an air display, did not contribute to his accidental death.

Kevin Whyman lost control of an ex-military Folland Gnat jet trainer at the CarFest North event in Oulton Park.

He was one of two pilots executing a 360-degree manoeuvre, known as an aileron roll. 

Mr Whyman's aircraft was into its second roll when it reached an angle of bank of 107 degrees to the left and the nose of the jet dropped unexpectedly.

Air investigators told an inquest that Mr Whyman had attempted to reverse the direction of the roll and that the situation was "probably recoverable" at that point.

The inspectors at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said Mr Whyman then applied "a large pitch input" which they said was "inappropriately timed". This led to an increase in the rate of descent which caused the aircraft to go out of control.

The investigators also thought that Mr Whyman's level of experience probably contributed to the outcome.

Videos from 2015 show the plane plummeting to the ground in front of horrified spectators:

However, the pilot had a total of 218 hours of flying time in the Folland Gnat over 11 years and 12 hours per year in the previous five years on average.

His logbook recorded a total of 418 hours as a pilot in command in all aircraft - which classed him as "intermediate" by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), rather than the 450 hours required to be termed as "experienced".

Summing up the evidence Alan Moore, the Senior Coroner for Cheshire, said the question of experience was more subjective and "a bit of a grey area", in contrast to the technical matters, but that the jury could make a record if they believed lack of experience played a part in Mr. Whyman's death.

In their conclusion the jury stated: 

"It is more likely than not that Mr Whyman used an appropriate technique to try and recover the situation".     

"When faced with a time-critical situation it is more likely than not that an inappropriately-timed pitch input contributed to the outcome and made the situation unrecoverable."

Cover picture courtesy of Facebook.

Topics: