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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 174934
Last updated: 6 November 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-181 Archer II
Owner/operator:A1 Aircraft Ltd
Registration: G-BSAT
C/n / msn: 28-8090326
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1 mile north-east of Biggin Hill Airfield, Bromley, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Le Touquet, France (LTFQ)
Destination airport:Biggin Hill Airport, Kent (BQH/EGKB)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Written off (destroyed) 9 March 1997 when crashed one mile north-east of Biggin Hill Airfield, Kent, killing both persons on board. According to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"At 1619 hours the pilot of G-BSAT checked in on the approach frequency. The controller asked him to "REPORT AT 4 DME....RVR IS 600 METRES". Just before 1621 hours the commander reported at 4 miles on finals. The Biggin Hill controller asked him if the aircraft was fully established on the ILS. He replied " 'AT' IS ESTABLISHED ON THE ILS"

The Thames radar controller, although no longer responsible for controlling 'AT', had noticed on his radar display that the aircraft's mode 'C' readout, from the aircraft's height encoding altimeter, was indicating that the aircraft was 1,300 feet above mean sea level (amsl). At 4 miles on finals the aircraft should have been at an altitude of 1,800 feet amsl. The Thames controller, concerned that the aircraft was indicating 500 feet lower that it should have been, contacted the Biggin Hill controller by telephone so that the pilot of 'AT' could be advised.

Having asked if the aircraft was 'fully established' the Biggin Hill controller informed the commander of the height discrepancy and again asked him to "CONFIRM THAT YOU ARE FULLY ESTABLISHED ON THE GLIDEPATH". The commander's response was "WE'RE ESTABLISHED,'AT' ". The Biggin controller then cleared 'AT' to land on Runway 21 with a surface wind of 060 degrees/09 knots.

As 'AT' continued its approach the Biggin controller transmitted to the diverting Falcon 900, on the approach frequency, the Gatwick weather information. The weather was fine with a light southerly wind, visibility in excess of 10 km and no cloud below 5,000 feet.

At 1622 hours the Biggin Hill controller transmitted the surface wind information again. The commander of G-BSAT replied "ROGER". This was the last transmission recorded from 'G-BSAT. After some two minutes the tower controller became concerned that G-BSAT had still not arrived on the runway or reported 'going around'. He transmitted a further nine times during the following eight minutes to try to establish contact with the aircraft.

He telephoned the Thames radar controller to see if the aircraft was still visible on the radar display. The Thames controller advised that the radar return had disappeared on short finals at Biggin Hill and that he had thought that the aircraft had landed. Unable to seethe threshold of the runway because of the poor visibility, the tower controller instructed the airport fire service vehicles,that had been on standby near the tower, to proceed closer to the threshold to get a better view of the touchdown zone. He also alerted the 'off-airfield' emergency services.

At 1628 hours the airfield fire service vehicles proceeded into the field containing the approach lighting and continued towards the public road. At the road boundary they met the local emergency services and together made a methodical search of the approach area. The visibility by this time had reduced to 200 metres. At approximately 1650 hours a telephone call from a member of the public indicated that the aircraft had crashed 1.5 nautical miles north north-east of the runway.

At 1715 hrs the emergency services located the aircraft wreckage which lay in dense woodland. Both occupants had been fatally injured. The area of the accident site was in a valley of agricultural land that lay in a north easterly to south-westerly direction interspersed with woodland on the upper slopes of the north westerly side. Within the valley were a few farm and residential buildings.

The accident site was at the lower edge of a dense beech wood 0.95 nautical miles from the touchdown point of Runway 21 at Biggin Hill Airfield, about 820 feet to the right of the approach centre line and at a height approximately 50 feet below the height of the runway.

As a result of the initial impact by the right wing tip, the aircraft was slewed to its right which allowed further impacts with other beech trees by the right wing until eventually the forward fuselage made heavy contact with the trunk of a substantial beech tree which resulted in severe disruption and break up of the aircraft structure. There was no fire".

The AAIB report confirms that the aircraft was "destroyed" ; as a result, the registration G-BSAT was cancelled by the CAA on the 5 August 1997 as "destroyed"


1. Aberdeen Press and Journal - Monday 10 March 1997
2. Daily Mirror - Monday 10 March 1997
3. AAIB:

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

Revision history:

29-Mar-2015 18:50 Dr. John Smith Added
29-Mar-2015 18:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
06-Nov-2020 20:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Accident report]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description