Country
code

Devon

Very hard landing of a Boeing 737-4Q8 in Exeter

Date & Time: Jan 19, 2021 at 0234 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
G-JMCY
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
East Midlands – Exeter
MSN:
25114/2666
YOM:
1994
Flight number:
NPT05L
Location:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The crew departed East Midlands Airport on a night cargo flight to Exeter on behalf of the Royal Mail. For unknown reasons, the aircraft landed hard at Exeter Airport runway 29. The crew was able to vacate the runway and park the aircraft on apron where major damages to the fuselage were noted. Due to the extent of damages, the cargo could not be unloaded. The aircraft seems to be damaged beyond repair.

Crash of a Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian in Dunkeswell

Date & Time: Dec 31, 2002 at 1749 LT
Registration:
N961JM
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Chambéry – Dunkeswell
MSN:
46-97122
YOM:
2002
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
8899
Captain / Total hours on type:
2095.00
Circumstances:
The pilot was carrying out an IFR flight from Chambery in France to Dunkeswell Aerodrome using Exeter Airport as his diversion. Before departure from Chambery he had checked the weather conditions at Exeter and other airfields in its vicinity from the available TAFs and METARs covering the period of the flight and he was satisfied that conditions were suitable. He had also contacted a friend who was also a commercial pilot at about 1530 hrs. This friend lived near Dunkeswell Aerodrome and had estimated the cloud base to be approximately 1,500 feet. The aircraft departed Chambery at 1605 hrs and, apart from some airframe icing on departure, it had an uneventful transit at FL270. Approaching the south coast of England, the aircraft was descended to FL60 and it left controlled airspace at Southampton in good VMC with the lights along the south coast clearly visible. The weather at Exeter at 1720 hrs was: surface wind 130°/08 kt, varying between 110° and 170°; visibility 6,000 metres; cloud SCT 005, BKN 012; temperature +9° C; dew point +8° C and QNH 1011 mb. With approximately 50 miles to run to his destination, the pilot attempted to contact Dunkeswell Radio but received no reply so he assumed the airfield had closed for the night. The lights of Dunkeswell village and the industrial site at the north-eastern edge of the aerodrome were visible but they had a milky appearance as if shining through scattered mist pockets. The aircraft was descended to 2,600 feet on the Exeter QNH and the main altimeter was set to the Dunkeswell QFE by subtracting 31 mb from the Exeter QNH to allow for the Dunkeswell elevation of 850 feet. The pilot was utilising two GPS navigation systems programmed to provide him with centreline information for Runway 23 on a CDI (Course Deviation Indicator) scale of 0.3 nm for full deflection. Whilst there was no runway lighting at Dunkeswell, the pilot had placed white reflective panels on the right edge of Runway 23. When illuminated by the aircraft landing light, these panels would show the right hand edge of the runway and also indicate the touchdown zone of the runway. The panels measured 18 cm by 9.5 cm and were mounted vertically on low, black plastic supports. The threshold for Runway 23 is displaced 290 metres from the road which runs along the northern aerodrome boundary and the first reflector was 220 metres beyond the displaced threshold. The reflectors had been positioned over a distance of 460 metres with the distances between them varying between 15 and 49 metres. The white centreline markings would also have been visible in the landing light once the aircraft was low enough. The end of the 46 metre wide runway was 280 metres from the last reflector. The pilot had carried out night approaches and landings to Runway 23 at Dunkeswell using similar visual references on many previous occasions. The pilot identified the lights of the industrial site earlier than he expected at six miles whilst maintaining 2,600 feet on the Exeter QNH. He cancelled his radar service from Exeter, which had also provided him with ranges and bearings from Dunkeswell, and made blind transmissions regarding his position and intentions on the Dunkeswell Radio frequency. Having commenced his final approach, the pilot noticed there was scattered cloud in the vicinity of the approach path. At about 2.5 nm from the runway threshold and approximately 800 feet agl, the pilot noticed a mist pocket ahead of the aircraft and so he decided to initiate a go-around and divert to Exeter. At that point the aircraft was configured with the second stage of flap lowered, the landing gear down and the airspeed reducing through 135 kt with all three aircraft landing lights selected ON. The pilot increased power and commenced a climb but he became visual with the runway once more and so he reduced power and resumed the approach. A high rate of descent developed and the radio altimeters automatic 50 feet audio warning sounded. The pilot started to increase engine power but he was too late to prevent the severe impact with terrain that followed almost immediately. The aircrafts wings were torn off as it passed between two trees and the fuselage continued across a grass field, remaining upright until it came to a stop. The passenger vacated the aircraft immediately through the normal exit in the passenger cabin and then returned to assist the pilot. Having turned off the aircraft's electrical and fuel systems the pilot also left the aircraft through the normal exit. There was a leak from the oxygen system, which had been disrupted in the accident and the pilot was unable to remove the fire extinguisher from its stowage due to the deformation of the airframe. He contacted Exeter ATC using his mobile telephone to inform them of the accident and they initiated the response of the emergency services.
Probable cause:
The investigation concluded that the accident had occurred due to an attempt to land at night in fog, at an airfield with no runway lighting and only limited cultural lighting to provide visual
orientation; these visual references were lost when the fog was entered. The aircraft impacted the treeline at the top of the valley 1,600 metres short of the displaced threshold and 200 metres to the right of the centreline.
Final Report:

Crash of a De Havilland DHC-7-102 (Dash-7) in Ashburton: 2 killed

Date & Time: Nov 28, 1998 at 0947 LT
Registration:
VP-CDY
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Saint Peter - Saint Peter
MSN:
84
YOM:
1982
Location:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
15000
Captain / Total hours on type:
4000.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
17200
Copilot / Total hours on type:
1700
Circumstances:
Prior to the flight the commander had filed a flight plan which indicated that after take off the aircraft would transit from Guernsey to the Berry Head VOR at FL 100. It was then planned to manoeuvre in the Plymouth area whilst conducting a performance related test flight. The commander called for start clearance at 0902 hrs and, after a short taxi, the aircraft was cleared for take off at 0918 hrs. After take off Guernsey ATC handed the aircraft over to the London Air Traffic Control Centre (LATCC) at 0930 hrs. As the aircraft approached Berry Head at FL 100 the commander requested FL 60. The aircraft was cleared for this descent and then handed over to Exeter ATC at 0943 hrs. Exeter ATC confirmed the aircraft requirements for a block of airspace between FL 60 and FL 100 and offered a radar advisory service. The aircraft was then vectored onto a northerly heading to keep it clear of departures from Plymouth Airport. As the aircraft approached FL 60 the commander requested further descent to FL 50, which was approved. The air traffic controller at Exeter then noticed that the altitude readout from the aircraft radar transponder indicated FL 47. He called the aircraft to confirm the local sector safe level of 3,500 feet but received no reply; this call was timed at 0947 hrs. From FDR timings the crew would not have heard this call. At the same time the transponder information disappeared from the radar screen and the primary radar return was no longer visible. The controller made repeated calls to the aircraft but received no reply. He arranged for LATCC to inform the Distress and Diversion cell whilst he notified the local emergency services. A large number of eye witnesses saw the aircraft in its final descent before impacting the ground; twenty two of these witnesses were interviewed. All agreed that the sky was clear and bright with only a few of them describing small amounts of light cumulus clouds. No one saw any other aircraft in the area and all were certain that there was no smoke or fire issuing from the aircraft or its engines whilst it was in the air. Most witnesses described the aircraft in a spin or a spiral descent, generally to the left, although some described the motion as like a falling leaf. Four witnesses, who all had a clear view of the aircraft throughout, described the aircraft completing a two or three turn spin/spiral to the left. Those witnesses who were in a position to hear clearly the sound of the engines confirmed that the engines were making a loud noise as if at a high power setting. The impact with the ground was followed immediately by a post crash fire. Both pilots were killed.
Probable cause:
A sustained ground fire had largely destroyed the wreckage. However, it was established that the aircraft had been structurally complete. The No 1 propeller was feathered and the flaps were fully and symmetrically retracted. There was no evidence of any mechanical malfunction. The two pilots had flown together previously on many occasions. On this flight the commander occupied the right seat from and made all radio transmissions. It was his normal practise to direct the flight, set the required engine power and to record data. This then allowed the FO, who occupied the left seat, to concentrate on flying the aircraft. The commander initially asked ATC for a block of airspace from FL 60 to FL 100 and then requested a base of FL 50. This was entirely consistent with the intention to perform a 3-engine climb. It would be normal practice to configure the aircraft for the next test point during the descent to the planned base altitude, as had been done on the previous flight. On this occasion however, the flap was not selected to 25° but remained fully retracted. In accordance with the configuration requirements for the 3-engine climb the No 1 the propeller was feathered and the engine was shut down. With the autopilot engaged and the 3 operating engines at a low power setting the aircraft levelled at FL 50 and the speed reduced. During this speed reduction the crew should have noted the trim wheel rotating as progressive nose up trim was being applied by the autopilot. It is possible that the non-handling pilot may have interpreted this as a manual trim input by the handling pilot. There would also have been clear aural and tactile warnings, via the stick shaker, that the aircraft was approaching the stall. Although both pilots were familiar with the test schedule the aircraft was not correctly configured for this particular test. Furthermore, the autopilot was retained down to the point of the stall and there appears to have been no adequate response to the stick shaker. If the crew were unaware of the flap configuration error then the stall warning may have surprised them but for a crew of their experience to fail to react correctly to the compelling intervention of the stick shaker is most unusual. However, the possibility of some distraction cannot be discounted. The available evidence therefore suggests that normal crew operation and co-ordination was lacking during this phase of flight. In the absence of a working CVR it is not possible to state why this occurred. The aircraft stalled with the autopilot still engaged. Power was increased on the three operating engines and two seconds later the autopilot was deselected. The application of asymmetric power ultimately caused the aircraft to roll rapidly to the left and this motion was countered by the application of right rudder and right spoiler. The elevator was then moved to the full nose up demand position. With the exception of decreasing application of right spoiler the controls remained in these positions until just prior to impact when the engine power was reduced. The flight control inputs and the changes to engine power suggest that both pilots were involved in the aircraft operation throughout the descent to the ground. The progressive and sustained rudder inputs together with the constant application of full aft control column also suggest that the same pilot retained authority over these flight controls. However, some of the crew actions were unusual. The non-handling pilot would have been ready to apply take-off power on the three operating engines in order to initiate the climb but the application of asymmetric power at the stall inevitably led to autorotation and was therefore inappropriate. The application of opposite rudder by the handling pilot was a normal pilot response but the application of full aft control column following the stall is inexplicable, irrespective of whether the pilot subsequently believed that he was in a spin or a spiral dive. Analysis of the manufacturer's flight test data during prolonged stalls provided no evidence of any elevator overbalance due to aerodynamic loads on the lower surface of the elevator. Moreover, in this instance, following the application of asymmetric power the aircraft adopted large bank angles that would have further reduced any aerodynamic load on the lower elevator surface. It is therefore considered most probable that the control column was placed in the fully aft position by the pilot. The nose-up elevator trim, applied by the autopilot before its disconnection, would have produced unexpected control forces when positioning the control column for recovery such that the normal release of back pressure would have been ineffective. However, this does not explain the subsequent application of full aft control column. It is possible that the rapid autorotation that followed the application of asymmetric power at the stall caused the handling pilot to become disorientated. The high longitudinal control forces that had been generated by the application of full nose up trim by the autopilot prior to the stall may then have exacerbated his difficulties.
Final Report:

Crash of a Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina off Plymouth

Date & Time: May 31, 1986 at 1050 LT
Registration:
C-FOWE
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
11074
YOM:
1941
Location:
Region:
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
3
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The Catalina was one of two that arrived that morning in celebration of the first transatlantic flight by a Curtis NC-4 aircraft in 1917. The first landed without incident but the 2nd veered off course on landing and hit a temporary buoy before crashing into a heavy permanent navigational buoy that ripped off part of a wing and one of her floats. This caused the aircraft to cartwheel around out of control performing a spectacular 'surface loop'. Luckily she stayed afloat and the people on board were rescued by the occupants of some of the welcoming party's boats. One member of crew was taken to hospital with a gashed leg. The sinking aircraft was kept afloat and towed to the nearby former RAF flying boat base at Mount Batten where she remained in one of the old 'Sunderland' hangars under repair for several months. She eventually flew out of Plymouth Hoe on the return leg of the transatlantic flight towards the end of the year.

Crash of a Vickers Viscount in Exeter

Date & Time: Jul 17, 1980 at 1953 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
G-ARBY
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Santander - Exeter
MSN:
10
YOM:
1953
Location:
Region:
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
58
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
14487
Captain / Total hours on type:
1540.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
3895
Copilot / Total hours on type:
1022
Aircraft flight hours:
35121
Circumstances:
The Vickers Viscount aircraft was engaged upon a passenger charter flight from Santander (SDR), Spain to Exeter (EXT). The aircraft arrived at Santander 8 minutes ahead of schedule, at 16:22. The aircraft commander recorded in the Technical Log a fuel state on shut down of 3178 litres and ordered a total fuel load of 5902 litres for the return flight, that is 454 litres less than the figure for full tanks. Whilst the aircraft commander was with the handling agents, the co-pilot supervised the refuelling. He requested a total uplift of 2720 litres and wrote the figures down, showing them to the senior of the two operators of the refuelling vehicle, which was not the one that had refuelled the aircraft on its earlier flight that day. On this previous flight, intermittent contact at the external electrical supply socket caused the aircraft's refuelling valve to open and close intermittently, interrupting the refuelling process. The refuelling was therefore completed using electrical power from the aircraft batteries. With the aircraft obtaining its electrical power from the same ground power unit as before apparently quite satisfactorily, the operators then refuelled the two sides of the aircraft one after the other, using the same hose each time. When the refueller finished pumping, its indicators recorded a total delivery of 2720 litres and the co-pilot, who had watched the operation, checked the figures and signed the delivery note accordingly. Neither pilot made a physical check of the aircraft's tanks using the dripsticks. Both fuel contents gauges had a history of defects. A recurrent problem in the port fuel gauge was recorded in the Technical Log as a deferred defect, expressed as 'port fuel contents gauge fluctuating occasionally, ie full scale deflection; rectification being carried forward until the next check'. The starboard gauge also had a defect. The aircraft commander did not draw the co-pilot's attention to this entry, who remained unaware of it. Before starting engines the pilots again set the flow meter totals at zero. The aircraft left Santander at 17:33 and was shortly afterwards cleared to its planned cruising level of Flight Level 180. The planned flight time was 2 hours and 9 minutes, with an expected fuel consumption of 3375 litres, leaving a reserve of 2527 litres. At 18:46 the aircraft passed over Nantes. The flow meters then indicated that 1964 litres had been consumed, which was exactly according to the navigation plan and the crew therefore recorded that at that moment 3320 kg (4150 litres) remained in the aircraft tanks. At approximately 19:10 whilst in the area of Dinard, the fuel contents gauges began to cause them some concern. The port gauge, with various fluctuations, occasionally fell to zero, but sometimes read full. The starboard gauge gave a reading equivalent to 500 litres and continued to fall steadily as the flight progressed. The pilots reviewed the fuel situation and although uneasy, considered that in the light of the recorded uplift and the totals on the flow meters, that they must have ample fuel on board. As the aircraft approached Guernsey the aircraft commander considered diverting there in order to take on more fuel, but after further thought decided against this action. At 19:28 when the aircraft was between Guernsey and Berry Head, it received initial descent clearance and shortly afterwards was further cleared to Flight Level 40 on a direct track for the Exeter NDB. At 19:42 the crew changed frequency to Exeter approach and started to receive radar positioning for runway 26. The cloud was given as one okta at 700 feet, 5 oktas at 1000 feet, and 7 oktas at 2500 feet, with a visibility of 13 kilometres and a surface wind of 280 degrees at 7 knots. At 19:44 the crew performed the approach checks, which included selecting flap to 20 degrees and switching on the fuel heaters. As fuel heat was selected, there was momentary flash from one of the two low pressure warning lights and after a brief discussion the crew opened the fuel crossfeed cocks, which had been closed since their pre-flight checks at Exeter. At 19:50 the aircraft was at 2000 feet QFE, just below cloud and about 8 miles from touchdown. The flap was still at 20 degrees and the undercarriage was retracted. Suddenly both low pressure fuel warning lights illuminated and in rapid succession all four engines lost power. The aircraft commander made an immediate Mayday call to Exeter and at the same time gave a warning on the passenger address system. Knowing the local terrain, the commander turned left in the best hope of finding a suitable area for a forced landing. With the flap still set at 20 degrees, the aircraft descended on a heading of approximately 190 degrees (magnetic) along a small grassy valley studded with trees, the average elevation of which was 130 feet amsl. As the aircraft crossed the boundary of the field, the port wing struck a tree, damaging the underskin and removing the mid section of the port flap. It then touched down with the nose well up, with the stall warning in operation and the control column hard back. The rear of the fuselage struck the ground first and almost simultaneously the port wing struck a tree causing a noticeable yaw to the left as the nose pitched down. Without hitting any further obstruction the aircraft came to rest after 307 metres on a heading of 074 degrees (magnetic). The crew assisted with the subsequent evacuation, which was orderly and there were no injuries. The total flight time since takeoff from Santander had been 2 hrs 20 minutes, with a fuel consumption, according to the flow meters, of 3458 litres. On examination, all fuel tanks were found to be empty.
Probable cause:
The accident was caused by the aircraft running out of fuel due to the crew's erroneous belief that there was on board sufficient fuel to complete the flight. The aircraft's unreliable fuel gauges, the company pilots' method of establishing the total fuel quantity and lack of precise company instructions regarding the use of dripsticks were major contributory factors. Meter indications on the refuelling vehicle at Santander, which cannot have reflected the quantity of fuel delivered, are also considered to have been a probable contributory factor.
Final Report:

Crash of an Avro 652 Anson T.21 at RAF Chivenor

Date & Time: Oct 17, 1960
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
WD415
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Saint Athan - Chivenor
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
Following an uneventful training mission from RAF St Athan, the crew mistakenly belly landed at RAF Chivenor. The aircraft slid for several yards before coming to rest and was damaged beyond repair. Both pilots were unhurt.
Probable cause:
The crew mistakenly raised the landing gear on approach instead of lowering the flaps.

Crash of an Avro 652 Anson C.19 at RAF Roborough

Date & Time: Apr 24, 1959
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VM308
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The crew was completing a training mission from RAF Debden. On approach to RAF Roborough in marginal weather conditions, the pilot made a mistake with the heading settings (error of 20°). On short final, he realized he was not properly aligned with the runway and elected to make a last-second correction to avoid an ambulance parking when the airplane crashed and came to rest in a boundary fence. Both pilots were slightly injured and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
Probable cause:
Wrong approach configuration on part of the flying crew. It was also reported that RAF Roborough is difficult to access, poorly equipped and its runway is considered as too short.

Ground accident of an Avro 652 Anson T.22 at RAF Chivenor

Date & Time: Jul 4, 1958
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VV362
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
After taxiing in at RAF Chivenor, Devon, an ambulance was reversed in front of it to transfer a patient from the Anson. The pilot increased rpm to prevent oiling the plugs but the aircraft moved forward and struck the ambulance. The fuselage was twisted and the tail damaged. There were no injuries.

Crash of an Airspeed AS.10 Oxford I in Exeter

Date & Time: Apr 27, 1956
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
PH318
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Exeter - Exeter
MSN:
4148
Location:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The crew was engaged in a local training sortie at Exeter Airport. After landing, the twin engine aircraft encountered difficulties to stop, overran, lost its undercarriage and came to a halt in a field. Both pilots were unhurt while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
Probable cause:
Wrong approach configuration on part of the flying crew who completed the landing at an excessive speed in full flap configuration and in strong cross winds conditions.

Crash of a Vickers 668 Varsity T.1 in Colyton

Date & Time: Mar 28, 1955
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
WJ888
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
615
YOM:
1952
Location:
Region:
Crew on board:
0
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
An engine caught fire in flight when the second engine lost power shortly later. The crew decided to attempt an emergency landing. The aircraft crash landed in a field located in Colyton and was damaged beyond repair. There were no casualties.
Probable cause:
Engine fire and loss of power in flight.