JURORS sat in the cockpit of a plane similar to that which crashed at the Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 people.

The trial of pilot Andrew Hill, who denies 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence, involved a trip see a Hawker Hunter on display at a museum.

The plane is a similar specification to the 1950s fighter jet which plunged to the ground and exploded in a fireball on the A27 after Hill attempted a loop on August 22, 2015.

Mr Justice Andrew Edis, prosecutors, defence barristers and court staff dressed down for the day, leaving their wigs and robes at the Old Bailey, as they accompanied the 11 jurors on the site visit.

Now comprising seven women and four men after a juror was discharged, the group arrived by coach and were handed visual aids as they were given a private tour of the red and white striped XL591 aircraft emblazoned with an RAF roundel.

Hill, 54, of Sandon, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, did not attend the visit to the Gatwick Aviation Museum, near the airport in the village of Charlwood.

Technical experts for both the prosecution and defence - ex-Royal Navy pilot Jonathon Whaley and former RAF Red Arrows display pilot Andy Cubin - attended to explain the features of the aircraft.

They walked around the plane showing jurors the wings, engine, fuel tank and other components including the flap, before explaining how it is used to give the plane lift during slower speeds, particularly during take-off and landing.

Then jurors were invited one-by-one or in pairs to climb into the cockpit while both experts demonstrated the controls, what they are used for and how the plane differed from the model involved in the crash.

This included showing how the controls would look in a typical flying position, how the joystick worked, how the flap was selected and controlled among other dials and gauges.

In evidence last week the vintage jet, owned by Essex-based businessman Graham Peacock, of Canfield Hunter Ltd, was described as “flying better than it had ever flown” in the months leading up to the crash.

Fran Renouf, deputy chief engineer at Essex-based Weald Aviation, told jurors the single-engine aircraft - built in 1955, weighing around 8,000kg (eight tonnes) when fully fuelled, designed for warfare but retired from military service in the mid-1990s and capable of travelling at close to the speed of sound - had been in “very good” condition and had a lot of maintenance.

He said: “It was reported it was flying better than it had ever flown and there were really no problems with the aircraft at all.

“We can only judge it by what we see on the ground but reports we had back from the air crew was that it was a good aircraft to fly.”

Prosecutors previously told the court the crash was due to “pilot error” and although Hill was normally considered “careful and competent”, he had taken “risks” in the past, suggesting he sometimes played “fast and loose” with the rules and had a “more cavalier attitude to safety than was appropriate”.

The court heard of three incidents in 2014, a year before the crash, when there were concerns over Hill’s flying. This included one of his displays which was halted with a stop call because he had performed a “dangerous manoeuvre”.

But witnesses have since described him as “safety conscious” and an “absolutely gentleman”.

Hill was thrown from the burning plane and told medics he “blacked out in the air” after he was found with blood on his face lying in undergrowth beside the cockpit.

The trial continues on Tuesday