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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 3322
Last updated: 26 November 2020
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Time:14:40 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE18 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft 18
Owner/operator:World Wide Helicopters Ltd
Registration: N102S
C/n / msn: 6158
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Black Cap Hill, near Plumpton, Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Nice, France (LFMN)
Destination airport:London Gatwick Airport, Horley, Surrey (LGW)
A Beechcraft 18 operated by World Wide Helicopters Ltd crashed on 18th January 1967 at Black Cap Hill, near Plumpton, Sussex, killing the pilot. Information below from Flight International, 7th March 1968.

"Plumpton Accident Report
A Beech C.45 aircraft which crashed on the South Downs near Plumpton racecourse on January 18, 1967, was on a ferry flight from Nice to Gatwick. The pilot, who was killed in the accident, held an American IR but was not in current instrument practice and was attempting to make a VFR approach to Gatwick under a lowering cloud ceiling. The BoT report concludes that: "The aircraft collided with high ground when the pilot was attempting to navigate at low altitude in poor visibility. Turbulent airflow in the lee of a ridge may have been a contributory factor." Mention is also made in the AIB's findings that no topographic maps for the UK were found in the aircraft.

The history of the flight, as retraced in the report, shows that the pilot probably did not recognise the seriousness of the deteriorating weather situation in southern England until he crossed the coast and had to fly at low altitude to remain in visual contact with the ground. He actually crossed the South Downs, intending to fly direct to Dunsfold, but was then asked by Gatwick to proceed via Mayfield NDB. He probably, the report surmises, decided to return to Seaford VOR, which was already selected on his receiver, in order to re-orientate himself. It was shortly after he had turned for Seaford that he ran into trouble. It seems likely that, realising he might not clear the ridge on which he eventually crashed, he tried to turn away from it, but the turbulent airflow in the lee of the ridge could have adversely affected the degree of his control on the aircraft. Impact damage evidence makes it appear that he either stalled during the turn or was in severe turbulence".

It is relevant to mention that N102S suffered accidental damage when landing on a desert airstrip on 22nd March 1965 - the bumpy terrain caused one undercarriage leg to collapse. The aircraft was stuck in the desert for five months or so before temporary repairs were completed and the Beechcraft was 'temporarily' certified as OK for a flight to Switzerland for inspection. Although work was carried out there, the original engines were retained - possibly with catastrophic results?


1. Flight International 7th March 1968
5. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 101/510:
6. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 101/511:
7. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 101/512:
8. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 101/513:
9. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 101/514:

Related books:

Revision history:

25-Feb-2008 12:00 ASN archive Added
29-Mar-2012 13:44 harro Updated [Operator, Narrative]
26-Jan-2013 18:20 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
01-Aug-2013 15:19 Dr.John Smith Updated [Cn, Source, Narrative]
22-Feb-2020 21:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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