Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Brand » Thu May 02, 2013 8:49 pm

Saw a Cessna 185 crash at Nepara, Northern Namibia, saw the Extra crash at Zwartkop, the Lightning at Bredasdorp, was on the beach when Maarten van Straaten went in, saw the L29 crash at Vereeniging and the Spitfire crash at Wonderboom.

Did not put me off flying.
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Dan » Thu May 02, 2013 9:19 pm

Is that the one were ZS LGE got hung up in some trees near naboospruit,, if my memory serves correct,,

Saw many happen non fatal and fatal, one that I till see a lot of is the wings in the air of the first fatal in the PTAR ,,,I was about 50 m from nicks one at lanseria , also the islander watched many wheel ups , still not put off flying but as said the older you get the more carful and less chances one takes ,,
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby noelotten » Thu May 02, 2013 10:41 pm

Whirly wrote:How many of you have witnessed an aeroplane/helicopter crash, and what effect did it have on you? Where, when?
I have witnessed several and although they left me with a knot in the stomach I have never been put off flying.


From 'inside' or 'outside' of the aircraft????? :lol:

Well! ..... I have seen accidents from both points of view .... and none have been pleasant experiences .... none have caused me to leave aviation .... but all have caused me to reassess my own flying techniques and attitudes!

From Kelzonie's post
kelzonie wrote:Watching my dads ol' pal landing a Skybolt ..............

I saw a Pitts entering BaraG's curcuit, engine 'putt putting' , making a left hand turn onto base , then suddenly lost a lot of height ,low and slow and stalled - *SMACKED the ground*(notice the emphasis on the word smacked) .my dad told me to get in the car right now! The pilot did a good job of belly flopping the aerie , the undercarriage soaked up most of the force, besides having the whitest face, pilot was ok! ................

I could see this accident developing as the pilot missed one opportunity after the other to put the aircraft down with some degree of certainty of a safe landing. I first saw the Pitts S-1S at about 800 feet crossing the ridge south-east of Baragee and going like a bat-out-of-hell. He started to turn towards RNWY 31. A side-slip and he would have been down. Instead, he approached the runway straight-in, all the while losing height. He then turned away from the runway to join down wind for rwy 13. He was now at 400 ft and considerably slower. before he had flown the length of the runway he turned as if he were trying to line-up with the north-south taxiway. I thought to myself .... "good choice, .... you can make it!" I remember looking to see if there were any obstructions on the taxiway. When I looked back towards the aircraft he was at less than a 100 ft and in a steep left turn to line-up with the 13 runway! The aircraft was clearly stalled and left wing low .... and I was already running for my bakkie. The aircraft was nose-high and, fortunately, wings level when it hit the ground. The undercarriage collapsed and the aircraft skidded to a halt in about 20 metres. Mike McAuley, Kelzonie and I were the first to reach the scene. The pilot was already out of the aircraft, alive .... but very shaken.

kelzonie wrote:Watching my dads ol' pal landing a Skybolt ..............

Next up , I recall it was a Fournier (glider) , gave us a flyby before landing , watching this glider on finals , with the undercarriage ready to embrace the earth, after quite a while noticing we could not hear the aircraft at all, I drove down to check if everything was alright, the glider looked alright except the aircraft was sitting on the fuselage not the landing gear , makes sure you check landing gear is down and LOCKED! .............

This one is deserving of a thread all of its own ...... happily a very funny story!!!!

kelzonie wrote:Watching my dads ol' pal landing a Skybolt ..............

Between all this I have seen a lot of prop strikes and one tail wheel locked on landing........

This one I can tell you about from the PIC's point of view ..... and I will ..... one day!

I have never totalled the number so here are other incidents I have seen or experienced as I can recall them ..... not in strict chronological order ....

1) 1970 .... Dr. van Rensberg into the trees at the '21 end at the 'old' Baragwanath. It was dusk, poor light and I was standing at the clubhouse. Doc v. Rensburg flew over the airfield. We 'heard' him rather than 'saw' him. I do not know whether he was approaching from the north or south. The engine was at full throttle and then suddenly ... silence. We knew something had happened. It took us nearly a 1/2 hour to locate the wreck in the bluegum trees. He was seriously injured, but alive! The same bluegums I was to meet personally just a couple of years later.

2) Aug 1972 ... My own crash in Tiger Moth ZS-CDJ .... into the same bluegums Doc van Rensberg crashed into. In my case I had thousands of witnesses including none other than Scully Levine and Laurie Kaye; (RIP ... whose memorial service I attended today); flying no more than a 100 metres behind me.

3) June 1976 ... Crash of Flying Wing (fatal). Watched the crash from above whilst glider towing.

4) Early 1970s .... Watched as a renowned cowboy tug pilot crashed into several gliders at the gliding field adjacent to the Swartkoppies Water Works .... I think that field is today the Panorama Airfield.

5) Mid 1970s .... A 'first solo' student cartwheeled a C150 down runway 03 at Baragee no more than 50 metres from where I was standing. There was a howling crosswind that day ... the instructor should have been shot for sending the fellow solo. I remember the scene as it unfolded in slow motion and the crunching sound as the wing tips hit the ground. Student walked away shaken ... never to fly again I believe. Turned out he was a former school chum of mine.

6) Early 70s ... Mirage 3 as it broke cloud to the west of Baragee .... and, in total silence .... it flew over Orlando Power Station .... and then we saw a parachute blossom .... and the aircraft disappeared over the ridge approximately where the Vic's Viking Garage is and the N1 cuts through the Mondeor Ridge. Turned out it was the brother a very good friend of mine returning from a Republic Day display in Bloemfontein! .... And, happily, he walked away from it clutching his parachute.

7) Around 1972 .... I was flying with a mate one evening when we were joined by a Piper Arrow 180 in the circuit at Baragee. We chatted to the other aircraft in the circuit and heard them preparing for a 'touch-and-go'. Then .... silence! ........ We did a couple more circuits before landing and parked the aerie. We went to the clubhouse for drinks and noticed that the girlfriend of the instructor was still sitting patiently waiting for his return. I commented to her that I thought they had already landed as we had not heard from them after they called 'short finals' more that 20 minutes before.
Just then the instructor walked into the lounge, grabbed his girlfriend by the hand and rushed out. A few minutes later, a new member of the club walked in supporting his wife who was bleeding quite profusely from a gash on her forehead. When we enquired if they were 'all right' he told us they had had a landing mishap. My friend and I went to investigate.
We were the first 'rescuers' on the scene. It was not a 'landing' mishap .... but rather a 'take-off' mishap. The student had hit the runway at too high a speed and the aircraft bounced and continued flying. The instructor tucked away the gear and applied full power to go around ... except that the aircraft had swung 45 deg off track and no one had noticed. They flew 'dead-centre' into one of the 'T' hangars. Aircraft totalled, student gave up flying and instructor walked away from aviation later to emerge as a Supreme Court Judge.

8 ) October 1975 ..... Whilst doing taxi trials and high-speed runs in my Pitts ZS-NJO prior to the first flight I went farming off the runway and stuck the nose into the ground! :oops:

9) Late 1970s (?) .... Peter White performing the 'Tant Sannie goes for her first airplane ride' routine in a J3 Cub at Mkuzi in KZN. He was not skilled enough for that routine and it was clearly evident that he was losing control. The aircraft stalled and nosed in from about 30 ft ... but fortunately Peter survived. ....
That same weekend, in fact the previous day, I watched as a local 'rigger' arrived to move a very large bench saw used for ripping up rough logs from outside one of the hangers. This guy was a rough-neck of note as he cursed and swore at his workers for taking too long to attach the slings to the saw. This saw weighed all of 4 / 5 tons. The truck mounted crane could not reach over the back of the truck so the rigger parked alongside the saw and attempted to lift from the side. He did not spread his outriggers very far and as the load lifted, the truck tilted over and the load swung into the side of the truck crushing the rigger and pinning him to the truck. What a mess! ... and what a mission to free him. He survived, but from the hips down .... just a gory mess!

10) Mid 1980s .... The Microlight crash ... less than 50 metres from where I was standing .... at the La Mercy World Masters Aerobatic Contest. I could see this accident developing. I was the contest director and I remember saying to one of the scorers .... "This idiot is going to crash. I can't look at this". I turned to go back into our operations caravan when I heard the crowd gasp. I turned round in time to see the aircraft descend the last 50 or so feet vertically into the ground. (Fatal)

11) Also mid- 1980s ..... Spitfire Evelyn's landing mishap at Margate ..... I felt like crying!

12) About 1987 .... Aerobatic Contest at Baragee (Syferfontein), Pilot Rick Berushi (spelling?), flying a Citabria, spun-in 300 metres from the judging line. Myself, Bob Hay and, I recall, Dave Gill were the first to reach the wreck. There was nothing we could do for the pilot! (Fatal).

13) Jan 2012 .... Myself PIC .... PPL renewal flight with IanS my instructor .... catastrophic engine failure in C150 ZS-MAV over Northcliff en route to the southern GF area. Forced landing in the Modderfontein Conservancy Estate 4 nm short of rnwy 35 at FAGC. Both of us walked away without a scratch between us. Happy, but also very sad!!! :D but :(

I think that's enough from me!!!

Last edited by noelotten on Fri May 03, 2013 8:52 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Walter105 » Thu May 02, 2013 11:08 pm

Noel, did you ever find out what caused MAV's engine to blow?
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Romeo E.T. » Thu May 02, 2013 11:32 pm

1)Britten Norman Trilander at Lanseria airshow
2)Nick Turvey Pitts at Lanseria airshow
3)C210T ZS-KOM at Springs 1983/4
4)Spitfire EAA Margate
5)Long EZE EAA Margate
6)Nick Munikhuizen Extra at Swartkops
7)A yellow high wing homebuilt at EAA Margate crashed into the surf at Margate beach
8 )Silver Falcon Impala Mk1 at Lanseria airshow
9)Karl Heinz Hirsch glider accident Virginia airshow
10)Fairchild (Ranger I think) at Wonderboom airshow approx 1988
11)Sasol L29 Vereeninging
sometimes we suffer a bit from C.R.A.F.T. sickness..Can't Remember A F@#%ing Thing

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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby noelotten » Thu May 02, 2013 11:36 pm

Walter105 wrote:Noel, did you ever find out what caused MAV's engine to blow?

Walter, see link below!


But I think you've seen this already ...... (there is a comment from you right below it!) :wink:

Just normal wear and tear .... and a fair amount of overheating! The aircraft spent many hours climbing in the circuit followed by 'shock cooling' when gliding to land!

The words "cheap", "aviation" and "safe" cannot, in my opinion, be used in the same sentence; not unless you add the word "not"! ... John Howse 1947 - 2010
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Bugs » Fri May 03, 2013 12:08 am

In no particular order:-
1.) Nick Turvey Pitts ZS-ZAP at Lanseria.
2.) Cirrus Glider at Tempe. Pilot panicked on landing deep, tried to go around, left wing hit fence post and glider spun around in air landing on wing and breaking tail and wing.
3.) ASW 15 glider Estcourt. Pilot lost control on takeoff just after rotation. Wing hit ground and major groundloop with damage.
4.) Paraglider in Durban hillside near city dump, Springville??? Left side collapsed, and he spiralled into a buildings roof below if I remember correctly.
5.) Vari-eze Margate. After a high speed flypast the engine cowling came off and hit prop. Turn to finals to late, and somersaulted at beginning of runaway.
6.) Karl Heinz at Virginia. Poor planning, was to low and undercarraige still retracted when he hit bushes and broke tail of glider groundlooping.
7.) Powered Paraglider Marianhill Ridge outside Durban. Pilot got caught in rotor, tried to power away, stalled and spun in.
8.) Witness to many near misses.
9.) Right hand engine failure in B58 Baron with myself as pilot. To busy to be scared.
10..to infinity) Tons of model airplane crashes. Some really spectacular. Glad was not the real thing, ever....

Did'nt put me off flying, just made me aware of how fragile we are and how precious life is.

When I was about eleven, I used to go to Odendaalsrust Gliding Club with our neighbour (Late Vance ....???) who was a member.
At the club hidden behind hangers and in a dried out pan was the burnt out wreckage of a C182. Apparently on aertow, the Cessna took off to early behind a winch launch. Cable snarred wing of cessna and she dived straight into the ground. Pilot killed and also a small boy who was going along for the ride. I will never forget how the wreckage affected me then. Still wanted to fly though.
Have seen my fair share of wrecks, and am always amazed how little is left and how fragile spam cans are.
Composite aircraft seem to fair better.
Last wreck was the B58 Baron in Draaifontein. (See pics I posted on ACCIDENT AT DRAAIFONTEIN).

Not nice, but reality checks needed at times.
Last edited by Bugs on Fri May 03, 2013 11:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Mikemccrsa » Fri May 03, 2013 12:52 am

I have been fortunate to only witness one crash from outside the cockpit, that of a glider at the Secunda airshow in '93. I had recently finished my glider training and I could see he was in trouble before he completed his last loop, he managed to put the wing into the ground on a very steep turn onto finals. IIRC the pilot was ok but had some minor back injuries.

I later became intimately acquainted with the very dense forest at the base of Mt Carmel in Nelspruit on two separate occasions when my paraglider became a lead sled.

I hope this remains my entire tally
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby svenh » Fri May 03, 2013 9:57 am

I witnessed a Transall C160 wheels up landing at Waterkloof AFB main runway. The crew were practising for an on-coming airshow when they got their sequence out of sync. Very spetacular with magnesium flames behind the aircraft higher than the tailplane. The landing was on 19 and the C160 came to halt opposite the fuel dump on the runway centreline with a slight LH yaw. There was also a C160 that's done a wheels up at Mapacha for different reasons.
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Matewis » Fri May 03, 2013 9:58 am

Witnessed the tiger moth crash at FABM 19/12/2007.
Did not put me off flying, but was quite a shock on the day and the rest of the week.
Made me more cautious and is a reminder to always keep a good look on the ASI.
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Whirly » Fri May 03, 2013 2:17 pm

So it would be safe to assume that pilots don't generally get put off flying after witnessing an accident (or even a few accidents), some even horrific? In my case it gave me a new respect for flying and a knowledge to it could happen to me too. Hopefully it makes us more safety conscious and scared to push the limits.

Thanks to all those that have responded so far. :smt023 I also now know who never to fly with!! :lol: :lol:

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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Backmarker » Fri May 03, 2013 2:42 pm

Mid Air collision in Toronto Canada - Canadian Forces Snowbirds 3 September 1989 during a demo, one pilot ejected safely the other ended up in Lake Ontario RIP

1 July 1990 - Ottawa Canada - Airshow final display was a P51 mustang. crashed during a loop maneuver, Fatal

I was 8 and 9 years old respectively, I stopped going to airshows after that, until about six years ago.
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Euro Flyer » Fri May 03, 2013 3:24 pm

Taking a shortcut around the perimeter road of Heathrow in Nov 1997, I watched the Virgin Atlantic A340 from final approach through to landing with the left landing gear stuck in a partially down position. Sick feeling in the stomach watching it all unfold in front of me.

The partial gear up landing was successful, closed one of Heathrow's runways for quite a while.


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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby Skytramp » Fri May 03, 2013 3:34 pm

From outside the cockpit:-
Nick Turvey's Pitts prang at Lanseria including the Britten Norman Trilander, both on the same day in 1985.
From inside the cockpit
1). An Aero Commander 680F ZS-CWD on a low level geophysical survey in mountainous terrain south of Calvinia on 16 October 1974 (Photos at http://www.baaa-acro.com) Click on 1974 for 26 pics. (Story in my posts under Aero Commander Crash 1974)
2). A Cessna Agwagon ZS-ION in 1980 in the Dendron area.(Story in my posts under Catch a Wake-up "A Short Career".)
3). A Cessna 206 in the Delta; also a post under Catch a Wake-up "Deja Vu".
Walked away from all three, only one fatality. Fall off a horse; you dust yourself off and clime back on - hopefully the wiser.
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Re: Have you witnessed an aircraft crash?

Postby ERNIE » Fri May 03, 2013 4:53 pm

The worst that I was ever involved in, from inside :

February 1953, C F S Dunnottar, Wings Course, first period of night flying. :D

My co-pupe was first to fly and I sat at the flight line and waited until his lesson was over. The aircraft were parked in rows and the Instructor taxied in and parked , under instruction of the Batman. With engine running, Co-pupe climbed out, I climbed in, plugged in intercom and was told by the Instructor to belt-up and then concentrate on and familiarise myself with the Instrument Panel, as this was the first time that I had seen it in the dark and with lights on. :D :D

Whilst I was doing as I was told, the Instructor got taxi clearance and I felt that we were moving. Still engrossed with the Panel, I was taken out of my concentration with one helluva bump and grinding sound accompanied with much shuddering and then total silence, except for the litany of expletives in the earphones. :shock: :shock:

I was then instructed to unbuckle and get the hell outta there, pronto :roll: :roll: I could not believe what I saw when I got out. We had apparently taxied into the back of another Harvard parked in front of us and demolished the whole rudder and elevator and there were bits and pieces lying all over the place :oops: :oops: That was the end of my Night flying, that night :( :(

If the wings are travelling faster than the fuselage, it has to be a Helicopter and therefor unsafe. ....Fixed wing Pilot.

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