Battle of Britain Fly-Past Cancelled As Insurance Costs Spiral Following Shoreham Crash

Carl Court/Getty Images
Carl Court/Getty Images

A Battle of Britain commemorative flypast by 20 spitfires has been cancelled thanks to the prohibitive cost of insurance following the disastrous crash at Shoreham Airshow last month, in which 11 people lost their lives.

The event was being privately organised by a group of Spitfire owners, had planned to fly over London to mark the 75th anniversary of the historic battle. However, enquiries into the cost of insuring the event revealed that they would most likely be required to take out £250 million of cover, at a cost of £50,000 making the whole thing untenable.

Paul Beaver, who was organising the event, told the Telegraph: “The intention was that 20 privately-owned Spitfires would fly over London to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. We had started the planning in March, and had applied to the Civil Aviation Authority and even the Prime Minister to get the go-ahead.

“The route we were going to take would have made sure there was always somewhere for an aircraft to land if it got into difficulties, and usually the individual owners’ aircraft insurance, which provides £5 million of third party cover per aircraft, would have been enough.

“But after Shoreham we took soundings from an insurance expert who advises the air shows, and he said the feedback he was getting from underwriters was that we would need to take out £250 million of insurance cover, which made the whole thing untenable.

“I really hope the underwriters take a pragmatic view when the air show season starts next year, because if they don’t it will make life very difficult.”

An unrelated flyby featuring a number of fighter planes will still go ahead over the south coast to mark the anniversary on September 15th.

On 22nd August Shoreham air-show was called off after one of the aircraft taking part in the display smashed into queuing traffic on the busy A27 south coast road, erupting in a ball of flame. Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority has now put “significant” restrictions on airshows, with displays by vintage jets now limited to flypasts, with skills aerial acrobatics forbidden.

Three weeks previously, ex-RAF pilot Kevin Whyman, 35, was killed at CarFest, hosted by TV celebrity Chris Evans, when his plane nosedived during a stunt display.

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