David's article indicates that some of the post Beachy Head accident events aren't generally known.


Instructors are automatically suspended in the event of an accident and the club needs to ask the Senior Regional Examiner to consider their reinstatement after submitting their accident report. It is usually the CFI that requests the reinstatement, but in this case the CFI was one of the suspended instructors. Steve Williams as Chairman made the initial request for the reinstatements and emphasised Brian's superb experience and value to the club.


This accident came at a time when the BGA was very worried about the seemingly intractable accident rate nationally. Many insurers were thinking twice about continuing in the market because of the high values of some accidents. The Beachy Head ditching was followed very soon afterwards by the Shark in the trees accident, another £100k+ claim. The club's accident record prior to these accidents hadn't been great and so the BGA took the unusual step of launching a special investigation into the accident. They sent two safety inspectors to interview Brian and me, and the SRE's decision to reinstate or not was based on their report. The BGA safety team came to the club to take another look at our safety culture and announce their decisions. They made it clear that further appeals on Brian's behalf would not be productive.


It is a sad end to Brian's instructing career, but not hopefully to his gliding. He has always been my local hero, combining world class cross country flights with instructing and running the club. I asked him to be my deputy soon after becoming CFI and especially valued his work in preventing accidents by imparting low level handling skills to members. It has been a very traumatic year for Brian, but I hope that he will  continue to contribute to the life of the club and enjoy some more fantastic flights in the new 2UP.

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Duncan explains

Concerns had come my notice regarding transparency relating to the inquiry subsequent to the ditching off Beachy Head at the end of last year. Duncan has kindly agreed to write the following piece explaining the post accident sequence of events.                         Ed