Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 18:41 UK

Hislop safety moves still awaited

Steve Hislop
Proposals made after Mr Hislop's death have not been introduced

Safety recommendations made after a helicopter crash in which motorbike champion Steve Hislop died have yet to be implemented, an inquiry has heard.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch proposed two changes in the light of the incident in the Borders in 2003.

A fatal accident inquiry in Edinburgh was told neither of the actions on helicopter safety had been introduced.

Sheriff Principal Edward Bowen QC is expected to deliver a written determination in several weeks.

Mr Hislop, 41, died when the helicopter he was flying crashed into hills near Hawick on 30 July 2003.

The AAIB made two recommendations after the crash.

It appears he was confronted with a high-risk situation by inadvertent entry into cloud
John Kirk
Fiscal depute

One was for helicopter controls to be modified to prevent the rotor blades stalling.

The second was for pilots to be given more than one second to react to an engine failure.

The FAI was told neither safety suggestion had been implemented in Britain or America by manufacturer Robinson.

Mr Hislop was flying one of the company's R44 helicopters he had borrowed from a friend when he crashed and died.

The inquiry has previously been told by witnesses that they heard military jets in the area at the time of the crash.

However, accident investigators said they must have been mistaken and added that cloud was the most probable cause.

Concerns expressed

In his submissions to the inquiry, fiscal depute John Kirk said the theory that Mr Hislop had suffered disorientation in cloud was more likely than the presence of military jets.

"It appears he was confronted with a high-risk situation by inadvertent entry into cloud," he said.

"This was described as a particularly difficult situation for any pilot, even pilots with much more experience of flying than Mr Hislop."

The R44 is one of the most popular private helicopters, with more than 6,000 sold worldwide.

The fiscal depute expressed concerns about the failure to implement the AAIB recommendations.

Paul Hannant, an AAIB senior inspector, told the inquiry investigators had recommended the manufacturer address the problem of the rotor blades stalling when the controls are moved severely.

"The response came back that that was adequately addressed in the flight manual," he said.

A ruling from the inquiry is expected to be published in several weeks time.

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30 Apr 08 |  South of Scotland
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29 Apr 08 |  South of Scotland
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28 Apr 08 |  South of Scotland
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21 Feb 08 |  South of Scotland
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07 Dec 07 |  South of Scotland
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22 Oct 07 |  South of Scotland
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07 Sep 07 |  South of Scotland

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