A PILOT has told a court his experience of flying the plane which crashed at the Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 men, was “very limited”.

Andrew Hill made the admission during cross-examination at the Old Bailey. He has been speaking in public for the first time about the 2015 crash as he continues to give evidence at his trial.

The 1950s Hawker Hunter fighter jet plunged to the ground and exploded in a fireball on the A27 at Shoreham after Hill attempted a loop on August 22.

The 54-year-old, of Sandon, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, denies 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The court has so far heard Hill had a lengthy career in aviation and was an experienced military, commercial and display pilot who had flown aircrafts including a Jet Provost and a Harrier as well as the Hunter.

When asked about the amount of time he had spent flying the Hunter fighter jet, he replied that it was around 35 hours.

The court heard this was mostly at a handful of displays since 2011.

Asked by prosecutor Tom Kark QC if he accepted his experience in this respect was “relatively limited”, Hill responded, saying in comparison to others it was “very limited”.

Hill - who has been described as a normally “careful and competent” pilot - also agreed he had a duty of care to spectators, of which there were some 20-30,000 at Shoreham on the day of the crash.

Prosecutors previously accused him of breaching rules at other airshows the year before the crash.

Hill told the court he “embarrassed” himself by flying too close to the crowd at Southport Airshow in 2014.

Jurors heard him describe “one of those nasty, dawning moments” as he realised the display at Southport was not going as planned and he was heading towards the crowd line.

Hill was issued with a “stop call” to bring the display to a halt, the court previously heard.

But, giving evidence, he said he had decided to pull out of the display with an escape manoeuvre before he was ordered to stop by ground controllers.

He said he spoke “briefly” with a Civil Aviation Authority inspector about the incident afterwards and no formal action was taken.

Hill told the court event organisers had been happy with this and allowed him to fly again the next day, but he cut the manoeuvre in question from the display.

He said: “I was not very content with myself,” and was aware the organisers would be “watching like hawks”, adding: “I had not only embarrassed myself but also embarrassed them.”

The court was told that during the 2014 Shoreham Airshow he flew over Lancing College - which sits next to the A27 - despite this being prohibited. Hill denied this, saying footage from the cockpit made it look like he got “very close” but from his recollection he had been “nowhere near it”.

He then took the jury through the footage, using a model aircraft and map to explain his belief of this.

Earlier in the day, Hill told the court he had amnesia and cannot remember the crash.

He said he remembers discussing plans for his display with organisers a week before, but has no memory of events between August 19 and the moment he woke from an induced coma in hospital the following month.

Asked by Karim Khalil QC, defending, what he felt knowing the devastation the crash had caused, he said it was a “dominant thought” in his life.

He described it as a “dreadful tragedy” and said he had spent the last three years trying to work out what happened.

He said: “I was the pilot, I was in charge of the aircraft.”

Hill claims he had “cognitive impairment” at the time and told medics who came to his rescue that he “blacked out” in the air, the court previously heard.

He was thrown clear from the burning plane and survived despite several serious injuries.

Jurors have been told Hill passed medical checks before the crash. Tests and scans afterwards did not show any sign of a medical condition - including cognitive impairment - which may have affected his health leading up to the crash, the court heard.

He said he would not have taken off or continued with the display if he had felt unwell beforehand.

Viewing footage of the display, he agreed there would have been “more than one opportunity” for a pilot “of clear mind” to rectify the flight path.

He said the way the aircraft was flown makes “no sense” and he “could not understand it”, adding: “It doesn’t seem what I would likely do. It’s not particularly well flown.

“It’s not being controlled properly.”

The trial continues.