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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 185348
Last updated: 8 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 Cherokee Archer II
Owner/operator:Luton Flight Training Ltd
Registration: G-BLAW
C/n / msn: 28-8190184
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:English Channel, 5 nm SW of St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Luton Airport, Luton, Bedfordshire (LTN/EGGP)
Destination airport:Cherbourg–Maupertus Airport, Cherbourg, France (LRFC)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Ex-N8346Y (US registry). Initially delivered to Belgium and registered as OO-XKV on 24-1-1981. Re-registered in the UK as G-BLAW on 23-7-1982. Written off (destroyed) 18-10-1994 when ditched and sank into the English Channel, about 5 nautical miles South West of St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight.

The flight was uneventful until it reached a point, at 1500 feet five nautical miles south-west of St. Catherine's Point, when the engine output dropped, but only for three seconds before picking up again. The same occurred again, but then the engine stopped. The pilot heard nothing to indicate a mechanical fault and checked for carburettor icing but found none. He changed fuel tanks, increased the fuel mix and applied full carburettor heat. But all his efforts to restart the engine came to naught - and by now he must have been losing height. Thus he turned back toward the Isle of Wight and put out a distress call.

However he had insufficient height to make land and thus put down in the sea in textbook style. The pilot climbed onto the wing of the Cherokee and inflated his lifejacket. He could not do likewise with his dinghy as the gas bottle apparently was empty. He then re-entered to the cabin, made another distress call and returned to the wing. After a few minutes the Cherokee started to sink, so the pilot took to the sea. The pilot (the sole person on board) escaped from the aircraft, after sending a MAYDAY message at 15:34 (the aircraft took three minutes to sink).

The Lee-on-Solent SAR helicopter was scrambled and arrived within 20 minutes, winched the pilot from the sea and took him directly to Haslar Hospital, Gosport, from which he was released, uninjured, that evening. The cause of the engine failure was not ascertained because the Cherokee sank and was not recovered from the sea

Damage sustained to airframe: Per the AAIB report "aircraft sank after ditching". Since the aircraft sank and was not recovered, the exact cause of the engine failure was never determined. As a result of being "lost at sea", the registration G-BLAW was cancelled by the CAA on 25-01-1995 as "Permanently withdrawn from use" and owners "Addressee Status: Gone Away".


1. AAIB:
5. G-BLAW at Booker, Buckinghamshire on 5-3-1984:

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

Revision history:

12-Mar-2016 22:51 Dr.John Smith Added
13-Mar-2016 18:07 Dr.John Smith Updated [Location]
31-May-2016 20:19 Dr.John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Nov-2020 20:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative, Accident report]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description