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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 16482
Last updated: 2 October 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee
Owner/operator:Woodvale Aviation Company Ltd
Registration: G-BBLA
C/n / msn: 28-7125384
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Irish Sea, 2nm west of Southport Pier, off Southport, Lancashire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:RAF Woodvale (EGOW)
Destination airport:RAF Woodvale (EGOW)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Destroyed 26/9/1996 when failed to recover from a spin and dived into the Irish sea, two nautical miles west of Southport Pier, off Southport, Lancashire. Both persons on board (instructor and pilot under training) were killed. According to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"The club-owned aircraft took off from Royal Air Force Woodvale at 12:06 hours and changed frequency to Warton Approach for a Flight Information Service briefing whilst carrying out general handling exercises.About 15 minutes after take off the instructor informed ATC that "WE'RE JUST LEAVING TWO THOUSAND FEET NOW... WE'D LIKE TO CLIMB TO FIVE SIX FOR SOME SPINNING FOR THE NEXT FIVE OR TEN MINUTES IN MORE OR LESS THE POSITION WE ARE IN NOW".

Some five minutes later the instructor reported that the aircraft was climbing through 4,000 feet on the QNH and that the base height for the spinning exercise would be 3,000 feet. ATC replied with traffic information and the instructor's acknowledgement was the last coherent transmission received from the aircraft.

At about 1240 hrs a witness being driven in a car near Southport beach saw a white coloured aircraft spinning - she thought to the right - through several rotations before it hit the water,still spinning. From the beach the witness and her husband could see a white coloured object floating in the water but they were unsure whether this was the same object they had seen spinning.

Because model aircraft are often flown from the beach, there had been no smoke and no visible markings, and there
were other people on the beach who were apparently uninterested in the floating object, they concluded that the object was a model aircraft. It was not until later when she saw a news report of the crash that she reported her sighting to the police".

Contemporary press reports named the two fatalities as Ian McConnochie, 49, of Dunkirk Road, Southport, and Captain James Bolshaw, 66, of Lucy Hall Drive, Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire.

Damage sustained to airframe: As confirmed by the AAIB report "aircraft destroyed". However, due to exceptional low tides at the time of the accident, the wreckage found found in only four feet of water, and was recovered for accident investigation. The registration G-BBLA was cancelled by the CAA four months later on 22/1/1997 as "destroyed"


1. AAIB:
2. CAA:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

25-Mar-2008 13:00 ASN archive Added
06-Dec-2015 18:43 Dr.John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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