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TWO aircraft down today . . . . .

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I’ll conclude the first aircraft report quickly, as I have insufficient info for a useful report at present.


Aircraft Down #1


Whilst duty Air/gound radio operator today ( Sunday 22nd March 2015 ) I heard a radio call which said, “Oh $hit,. . .he’s bloody crashed. . .” I called the station and asked for details, and the pilot apologised for his invective and said that he was overhead Darley Moor Airfield ( Derbyshire UK, approx 40 NM from our base ) and he had just seen a flexwing ( Trike ) take off, and then suddenly turn 180 degrees, and crash into the ground in a field parallel to their runway. Darley do not have an air – ground radio station, but use the “Safetycom” 135.475 national system, where the airfield location name is placed before the word safetycom, and is used for aircraft to aircraft communications around a particular site, and ground communications are not allowed on the channel ( another stupid, pointless and potentially dangerous UK regulation ) He said that it was a “late model trike” and after five minutes he called again, and said that the occupants appeared to be out of the wreckage and walking about on the ground. No further info, though I’ve asked the CFI on his telephone answering machine if everything was OK . . .no reply as yet.


Aircraft Down #2


I heard a call from an aircraft identifying as “Alpha Delta” who said that he had just witnessed an air crash, and could someone call the emergency services. Upon anwering the call, the pilot said that he was overhead Shifnal Airfield, which is approx 15 NM from our base. He said that the aircraft looked like it was taking off from rwy 28, but that it suddenly turned to the right, and crashed just a few metres away from a pair of residential cottages adjacent to the airfield. I called the emergency services immediately, but they said that they were already aware, and that a “Helimed” aircraft had been contacted and would be on site shortly.


I rang a friend who flies from that site, and he informed me that the aircraft was a dark red Luscombe Silvaire. The only Luscombe in our area to my knowledge was based at Abbotts Bromley private airfield approx 19 NM to the Northeast of us. I rang them and they confirmed that one of their pilots had indicated he was flying there to see if he could obtain hangarage.


I have known this particular pilot, and his aircraft for quite a long time, as I personally ferried it from his previous base, to the current one on May 1st 2006, as he did not hold a G.A. license and could not fly it himself. . . .This is where my story loses objectivity and becomes very subjective.


I had a rather bad experience flying with this particular person when, whilst I was a passenger in his Murphy Maverick, he had deliberately flown us into a deep cloud deck, whilst I was acting as Nav, and studying a chart. We were “In Cloud” for more than fifteen minutes with no blind flying instruments whatsoever, and this bloke, it turned out later, had been doing this for a long time, using a compass as his only steering device. AS soon as we cleared the cloud, I said that I wanted him to land immediately and leave me behind, which he did. How we ever survived that without him losing it completely and spinning us into the deck, I will never know, but sometimes, regrettably, fortune seems to favour the terminally stupid amongst us.


Later in the same year, he was reported to have taken another pilot as a passenger, and flown” VFR on Top” toward a destination in the North of England, whose GPS cords he had entered incorrectly,. . .they broke cloud forty NM out into the North sea off the East Coast, and only just made it back to land with the fuel remaining, and could not have called for help if they’d ditched, as the electrical system had failed the previous day. . . . ..


Other stories of his stupid exploits abounded at various flying clubs in the region, most of which he had been kicked out of. When I finally contacted the owner of his current base, to confirm that it was actually HIM, the owner told me that he had been asked to leave, as they did not wish to be associated with him, when he killed someone innocent. Which was why he was looking at other places. . .


TODAY at Shifnal airfield, he was seen to fly very slowly along rwy 28, then pull right into a really steep right hand turn, pilots on the ground watching have reported no change in engine sound,. . ie, no increase in throttle, at which point the aircraft was seen to stall and drop onto it’s right wing, which absorbed most of the impact. The right main landing gear was torn off the structure. The pilot and his Wife, were able to exit the aircraft unaided.


The owner of his current base has informed me that the pilot had suffered a stroke some time ago, and he’d been very seriousl y ill. He expressed incredulity that the pilot had been able to obtain a class 2 medical in his current state, and if he has NOT done so, then I’m hoping that the CAA will chuck the book at him. . . . not being too judgmental here am I ? ? ? ( ! ) I just think that other people will be that bit safer if he doesn’t fly. . . .


Putting my tin hat on now. . . .



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No need for a tin hat.


That type of attitude to flying used to be called gung ho, I believe, and now has various expletives used. We see his gene pool active on this site now and again. They usually don't tell us about the incidents they survive, but occasionally we read about them in the newspapers. Like this one, they often move from place to place when their welcome runs out, relying on the CFI not to take any action, or warn anyone else. I've been trained by one or two at times.



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Hi Phil,


If what you say is true then let's hope he has learnt his lesson this time (and fortunately with no fatalities!). Shame about the Luscombe!







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Allan, you have a point there! Those who will not take responsibility for their own actions will always try to blame something or someone else.





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Small update. . .


I heard early this morning that the person with him near the damaged aircraft was a lady occupier of one of the cottages who had witnessed the accident and had immediately attended to offer assistance. He was flying solo. Pilot has leg an mild head trauma, but not life threatening. He claimed that he had revalidated his license a few days prior after not flying for over three years. "Must have a "Friendly" A.M.E. " ( quote from another useer of his base. . . . . ) So it looks as if he might be flying again, being a relatively wealthy individual. . . . Luckily the CAA are involved, so fingers crossed, maybe they'll suggest he takes up a less demanding pastime, one can only hope . . .


I apologise for my apparent uncharitable and blatant prejudice towards a "Fellow Aviator" ( ! ! ) I used to rent that aeroplane from him occasionally back in 2007.





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UPDATE on Luscome Silvaire incident.


I have received three photographs of the aircraft described in this post. The "Witness" aircraft in the overhead at the time of the incident described a sharp RIGHT turn, and then the aircraft stopped moving. WELL. . . .the pictures seem to disagree. Unless the right wing impacted lightly first,. . .there is visual eveidence of slight deformation of the right wingtip, but the major wing impact damage appears to be on the left side.


I have posted all three pics anyway. The aircraft has been surveyed and the fuselage is twisted, with some other damage and the insurance company have decided that it's a write off. ( Psst . . .anybody want some Luscombe 8A bits ? ? )


The flexwing (Quik 912 Trike ) aircraft incident mentioned in my original post was described as a fenderbender,. . . ie, the student unexpectedly released pressure on the foot throttle on climbout and the engine retired to idle revs. , The instructor admitted that he did not react quickly enough on the hand throttle, but then rapidly ( not smoothly ) applied full power, at which point the engine hesitated, so he pulled the machine around very sharply to land in the flat area alongside the runway resulting in a damaged nosewheel fork and some cosmetic stuff. No photographs available of the red faced instructor, but since the student was the Owner,. . .I wonder who is paying the bill ( ! ! ) Not worth an insurance claim aparently. . .









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I wonder if he will really learn but claim that it was not his fault.Alan.

He has already Alan. . . . .


"I was checking the strip for any obstructions when an enormous and unexpected gust of wind hit me and forced me into an uncontrollable turn, causing my wing tip to contact the ground"


Birmingham Airport ( EGBB) which is 25 miles down the road, were reporting that day: wind 250deg @ less than 10Kt, condx calm. The local pilots using the same strip said that there was NO WIND, ie, the sock was asleep.


Pretty much as I'd expected from that particular bloke. . . . .it's always something elses fault, can't be ME,. . .I'm SUPERPILOT.



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Phil, good to read your accident posts with follow up comments.


This does not happen here unless it is an ATSB investigation.


Keep up the good work as we can all learn from this.





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Update on the Luscombe Silvaire accident. . .


I was informed today, by another pilot / aircraft owner based at the same place as the P1 I've already seriously denigrated above.


Two days prior to the described incident, our man was seen attmpting to land at the site he'd been using for nine years, and it took him eight attempts to get the aeroplane onto the runway. Now, to be fair, ( and this hurts. . .) the runway is an absolute bloody nightmare, . . .it measures 625 metres, and is 400 feet amsl.


It has three deep dips along it's length, the worst being at least 5 metres deep. so it is basically like landing on a switchback. . . it also has a thick line of pine trees at least sixty / seventy feet high, along it's total length on the West side . . . making any landing when there is a wind of more than around ten knots from the West a complete bloody nightmare, befcause of the evil rotor it creates. . . but nonetheless, the guy had operated from there for nearly a decade. Upon his seventh attempt, he was witnessed to be at least 200ft above the threshold,. . .appearing to have completely lost the plot with regard to judgement of height. . . .and on a familiar runway. . . ?


His final attempt resulted in him landing in the rough cropped corn, 10 metres to the left of the runway, and slewing the aircraft around 180 degrees before chopping the mags.


I've learned also, that he wrecked a friend's Jodel 115 by flipping it over onto it's back on the same runway in absolutely nil - wind condx ( opposite direction, but that is irellevant ) and blaming a "Crosswind Gust " . . . ?


I appears that whatever "Mechanical handling skills" he MAY have posessed, are completely gone following his stroke, and he should be barred from any further light aeroplane flying,. . . on his Reval ( which isn't a Flight Test as such, just a one hour flight with an instructor ) he failed to land on the main runway at Tatenhill ( Egbm ) which is tarmac, 860 x 20 metres. . . and planted it in the crop next door. . . in HIS OWN AIRCRAFT . . . yet they still stamped his logbook ( ? ? ? ? )


I have never done this before, but have today, contacted CAA flight safety, on their anonymous reports line, ( And Identified myself too ! ) and reported what I personally KNOW, and what has been said, and suggested that they make sure he has a thorough flight test with a CAA flight examiner ( Which he will NOT pass IMHO ) before he is allowed to fly again. I feel really bad about this, but knowing the bloke's record, he doesn't seem to have improved his commonsense at all since he nearly killed me years ago.


Sorry to bore you all with this, and NO,. . . .I'm not doing it expecting my back to be slapped for being a "Good, Safety Officer wallah" either. the only reason I'm posting this is to hope that, if you know anyone, mate or not, who is a similar candidate, . . then don't leave it until they kill themselves, or more importantly, an innocent passenger who might be overawed by their self belief in their virtually non existent skills. . . before you put them in.


Phil the Grass. ( Don't tell me what you've bin doing, as I'll probably dob yer in. . .)



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I think I would have done the same, Phil and I hope I have the sense to stop when I'm no longer capable.


I also hope my own time is many years away.





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I think I would have done the same, Phil and I hope I have the sense to stop when I'm no longer capable.I also hope my own time is many years away.



Thanks for that Kaz,. . .I really hope that I don't come across as a "holier than thou" type twat,. . . . But after spending 25 years as a "safety officer" i've seen things that people just would not believe. . . and I like to inject SOME humour to keep myself sane ( Oh, you think you're sane do you. . . .! ! ! ) My mate, let's call him Geoff,. . .( because that's his name ) cannot accept ANY sort of criticism about ANYTHING THAT HE DOES. I once warned him that he was being scammed when he was about to purchase a classic electric guitar from some wag in the states, that it was obviously a scam, as I had checked out the serial number and Gibson didn't use that type of serial number on Les Paul models,. . .he wouldn't have it,. . .and paid over four thousand quid for a fake, . . . he never admitted it, but I found out from his missus. that he had . . . This is the sort of bloke I'm dealing with. . .


I've already had a return email asking me if I would stand up in court and report what I actually KNOW about the guy mentioned above,. . .and I sid that I would. This hurts, . . .as he is a lovely social bloke in ALL other respects, and I've known him as a friend for over 20 years. . .he collects Expensive guitars and fancy cars. . . . and I just WISH. . .that he didn't fly. . . . . . but I cannot be my Brother's keeper. . . . . I've no doubt at all that he will see things through a different lens. . . . . .





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Phil quite a few people share the difficult position you find yourself in; they either don't realise it, or refuse to do anything about it.

You're quite probably right there OK,. . . and it's obviously a long ingrained feeling, but it still doesn't sit well. ( I've probably buggered my chances of getting a cheap deal on an old guitar from him now. . . .)



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Minor addendum to the thread, . . . the week prior to the accident flight, our pilot was given notice to quit his base by the owner, along with another five owners and their respective aircraft, following a blazing blue about someone siphoning 29 Gallons of avgas from an Auster parked therein. The hangar floor had been replaced with brand new tarmac 2 weeks prior to this, but not a mark was found on the hangar floor.


The landowner ( also a veteran pilot BTW ) thought this a bit odd, since I'm sure you all know what spilled avgas does to tarmac,. . . not a single mark was found. The hangar was securely locked with only 5 keys issued at the time, some of the other owners were away on vacation. Total mystery, unless someone had a 25 metre hose + pump, and a Humungous jerry can outside the hangar ! ! but the bitching about it continued, and the farmer decided to get shot of all six aircraft and their owners. ! ( There were 28 aircraft based on that site at the last count. . . )


This was why matey hurriedly revalidated his licence, and was looking around for a new place. The runway he missed was only 400 metres useable, and quite narrow, suffering at one end from ground softening during / after wet weather so it's possible that if he couldn't get the luscombe down on 650m with 50m over run at each end, x 50 m width, perhaps the landing attempt at the new place was unwise in this instance, requiring a slower approach speed. ( no flaps fitted to that aircraft )


Very curious story though. . .?



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