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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 19046
Last updated: 23 November 2020
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Date:15-JUN-1975
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic RALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Socata MS.885 Rallye
Owner/operator:Keith Alexander Buck
Registration: G-ASAP
C/n / msn: 140
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:English Channel, off the coast of Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Le Touquet – Côte d'Opale Airport, Le Touquet, France (LFAT)
Destination airport:Lydd Airport, Romney Marsh, Kent (LYD/EGMD)
Narrative:
Socata MS.885 Rallye G-ASAP: Presumed written off (damaged beyond repair) 15.6.1975: went missing over the sea whilst flying at low level from Le Touquet, France, to Lydd, Kent. Per a report in "Flight" magazine 24.1.76, G-ASAP was: "lost in low level corridor over English Channel". The aircraft crashed and sank after returning from the "Le Mans 24 hour Race" in France. Weather at the time was bad, as a front was moving through in Mid Channel. Both persons on board were never found, and presumed killed (drowned). According to an eyewitness report from a friend of the pilot/owner (see link #6)

"Keith Buck and Tony Ludlam were on their way back from the Le Mans 24hr Race on 5th June 1975, flying in the Rallye Club G-ASAP, owned by Keith.

Both Keith and Tony held British PPLs and were relatively inexperienced ‘good weather’ pilots. Neither had any instrument flying qualifications or experience.

The journey to and from Le Touquet (and sometimes other close French airfields) was something of a regular trip in those days, and enabled us to fly out with full tanks, reclaim the fuel duty, and return with nearly full tanks duty free. With the closure of Lympne Airport the year before, most planes moved to Lydd, and the cross channel flights were a fun and easy option typically flown at 1000ft.

I was flying elsewhere at that time and so not with Keith and Tony on that particular flight, but helped with the AAIB Investigation.

Beyond mid-channel, and while in communication with Kent Radar (at RAF Manston), they were seen (by the pilot of another aircraft flying the same route, but a little behind them), to fly into a bank of cloud at about 1000ft.
Unfortunately, unlike bits of cloud that they had flown into and quickly out the other side of in earlier flights, this was effectively a mass of sea fog which went down to sea level. The pilot of the other plane managed to turn back in time.

From the second they entered the cloud, their fates were sealed, and in the final moments before they hit the water, with one of the radio transmit buttons inadvertently being pressed, the words between them were being transmitted and recorded. It will serve no useful purpose to recount them here. Although there was an extensive search, no wreckage or bodies were ever recovered.

My last flight over the Channel, as pilot, was on the first anniversary of the death of Tony, my best friend, when I took his young son up to drop flowers over the approximate spot where they had been lost. His widow and daughter chose not to come with us".

Registration G-ASAP cancelled by the CAA on 4.11.1975 as aircraft "destroyed".

Sources:

1. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-ASAP-3.pdf
2. Flight Magazine 24/1/1976: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1976/1976
3. https://ab-ix.co.uk/pdfs/rallye.pdf
4. G-ASAP at Wolverhampton in 1966: https://www.airliners.net/photo/Untitled/Morane-Saulnier-MS-885-Super-Rallye/927771/L
5. https://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/G-ASAP.html
6. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=15753.0


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-May-2008 11:10 ASN archive Added
12-May-2012 14:12 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
09-Sep-2014 16:06 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
26-Jul-2015 01:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
28-May-2016 06:14 springming Updated [Embed code]
01-Aug-2016 18:57 Dr.John Smith Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
29-Mar-2020 22:12 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Source, Narrative]
29-Mar-2020 22:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
22-Jul-2020 19:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
22-Nov-2020 21:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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