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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 188870
Last updated: 25 March 2021
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Type:Ryan M1/M2 NYP 'Spirit of St Louis Replica'
Registration: ES-XCL
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Coventry Airport, Baginton, Coventry, Warwickshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Coventry Airport (CVT/EGBE)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: AAIB
An airworthy reproduction of the Ryan M/1/M2 NYP "Spirit of St. Louis" (Registration ES-XCL), which had been built and certified in Estonia in 1997, was written off on May 31, 2003, shortly after takeoff at an air show at Coventry Airport, Baginton, Coventry, Warwickshire. Structural failure occurred, resulting in a fatal crash, killing its owner-pilot, Captain Pierre Holländer. Even though the airframe of ES-XCL only had accumulated 191 total flying hours, the AAIB accident investigation revealed the cause of the crash to be a metal fatigue failure of the starboard wing's "wishbone" strut resulting from a faulty weld. Captain Pierre Holländer was a veteran (22,000+ hours) Swedish Saab 340 pilot. According to the following summary from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"The aircraft was a replica of the Ryan Spirit of St Louis, in which Charles Lindbergh made the first solo transatlantic crossing in 1927. ES-XCL was built in 1997 from drawings used in the construction of the flying replica displayed at the San Diego Aerospace Museum.

Shortly after take off from Runway 23 at Coventry Airport, whilst climbing and manoeuvring gently to begin its display sequence, the aircraft's right wing suffered a major structural failure and the aircraft fell steeply into an industrial compound bordering the airfield. The pilot survived the impact, but died shortly afterwards from his injuries.

Examination of the aircraft wreckage quickly determined that the outboard end of a tubular steel wishbone strut, which locates and supports both the upper end of the right landing gear shock-strut and the lower end of the forward right wing strut, had failed in flight as a result of fatigue cracking.

This failure had permitted the landing gear and its shock strut, together with the lower end of the forward lift strut, to articulate upward and outward. The resulting movement not only rendered the lift strut ineffective but also induced a severe levering-type contact between the side of the shock strut and the right wheel rim, fracturing the axle and allowing the wheel to separate and fall free.

The sudden dislocation of the wing strut resulted in an immediate overload failure of the forward (wooden) spar at its attachment to the fuselage, and consequential failure of the remaining inboard wing structure as the forward part of the wing twisted upward and rearward."

Nature of Damage to airframe: Per the AAIB report "Aircraft destroyed"


1. AAIB:
4. ES-ACL takes off on its last flight:

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

Revision history:

25-Jul-2016 23:33 Dr.John Smith Added
25-Jul-2016 23:34 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
25-Jul-2016 23:36 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
03-Aug-2016 15:43 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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