AIRSHOW safety checks were “not sufficient” in keeping the public safe from harm, investigators found, prompting calls for a complete overhaul of the aviation industry watchdog.

Nor did Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules demand airshow organisers find ways of keeping bystanders who were near the event, but not inside the gates, safe.

The regulator even continued to grant the annual aircraft bonanza permission to go ahead when it contradicted one of its main safety requirements – because it takes place in a busy area, namely the A27 which carries more than 58,000 cars a day.

Risk assessments did not need to be read or approved by the CAA in order for Shoreham Airshow to be given a licence to take place, the Air Accident Investigations Branch found.

The CAA allowed Rodney Dean, 72, of South Godstone, Surrey, to continue acting as the flying display director for the event but had not checked to make sure he was “fit and competent”.

There was no written policy on that procedure.

The risk assessment was not suitable and sufficient to manage risks to the public but the flying display director thought it was. It did not consider which aircraft would be displaying, where they would operate or how to prevent a hazard.

Andrew Blackie, senior investigator for operations, said the risk assessments had not been “fit for purpose”.

The report said: “The CAA had not established an acceptable level of safety performance for display flying.”

While the report looked at the actions of the pilot, principal AAIB investigator Julian Firth said it wanted to go further to look at how the industry as a whole could be made safer.

As such the AAIB has called for the Government to review the way the entire industry is regulated by the CAA in the wake of the crash.

The CAA inspected just eight out of 281 airshows in 2014, fewer than three per cent, and 18 out of 254 in 2015, including seven after the crash. It had no other means of determining they were safe other than to visit.

James Healy-Pratt, head of aviation at Stewarts Law, represents relatives of six victims, said it was a “significant” step to call in the Department for Transport to conduct a review.

He said: “It is really striking, it is clear there has not been proper preparation and regulation. Having an independent review is what needed to be done.

“There appear to be holes in the system. It wasn’t a particularly professional operation from the start.”

“I think the report was quite thorough and we got about 90 per cent of the truth.”

Phil Giles, a former air accidents investigator who lives in Emsworth, said it was quite unusual for the AAIB to call in the Government to conduct a review and it could see significant changes to the industry.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The safety of the public is my paramount concern and I never want to see the tragic events of August 2015 repeated. With the AAIB investigation and the CAA airshow review now concluded and enhanced safety measures already in place, I will consider whether new regulation and further action are required.”

The parents of victim Matthew Grimstone said: “Apart from anything that the pilot may have got wrong it is very evident the CAA and the Shoreham Airshow organisers have got much to answer for. Rules laid down by the CAA were quite clearly inadequate and those that were there were, in some cases, not fully adhered to by the airshow organisers.”

Rebecca Smith, an aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the group, said the crash was a disaster waiting to happen and one that appears could have been avoided.

She added: “The overwhelming concerns which remain are the lack of adequate safety regulations which were in place before the accident together with the failure of the organisers of the airshow to implement existing CAA procedures which were in force at the time.”

The CAA was unable to make anyone available for interview yesterday but instead released a series of statements.

Dame Dierdre Hutton, chairwoman of the CAA, said yesterday the watchdog was “committed to ensuring that all airshows take place safely for the six million people who attend them each year in the UK and for the communities in which they take place”.

CAA director of safety Mark Swan said the final AAIB report’s extra ten safety recommendations will all be taken on as a priority.

He said: “This was a tragic accident and we know that this must be an incredibly difficult time for the families and friends of those who died.

“We will do everything we can to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.

“To that end, the CAA has been, and continues to be, focused on implementing a range of enhancements to the safety regulation of airshows and we take all of the AAIB’s recommendations extremely seriously.

“We have already acted on all of those published prior to yesterday.”

He said the watchdog “acted immediately” following the accident in August 2015, carrying out a comprehensive review of civil airshow safety and implementing a number of safety enhancements for the 2016 season.

An independent external panel of experts oversaw the review to ensure that all UK civil air displays operate at the highest level of safety standards.