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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20699
Last updated: 9 January 2020
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Date:30-MAY-1988
Time:afternoon
Type:Gloster Meteor T Mk 7
Owner/operator:CFS Royal Air Force (CFS RAF)
Registration: WF791
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Baginton, Warwickshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Coventry (CVT/EGBE)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Control lost during display, when airbrakes extended, dived into ground. Pilot: Flt/Lt Stacey RAF killed. According to an eyewitness report:

"I lived in the suburb of Ernesford Grange in Coventry as a kid, about three miles from Coventry Airport (better known then as Baginton Airport). My dad and I were watching the annual Warwickshire Air Pageant from our back garden. It was hot and sunny and our proximity to the airfield meant we had a good free view of all manner of wonderful aircraft flying over our house as they took off from Baginton and turned around to be back on the return flight path.

Previous years had seen the likes of the Red Arrows performing spectacular fly-bys, however they had pulled out of the 1988 pageant after Birmingham air traffic controllers said they 'could not perform in safety'*

Nevertheless, the 1988 show promised some highlights such as an RAF Falcons parachute display and US Air Force F1-11's which were the first American planes to take part in the Warwickshire Air Pageant

Also taking part was 38 year old Flight Lieutenant Peter Stacey in a Gloster Meteor T7, registration WF791, a plane built by the company of local man and father of the jet engine Sir Frank Whittle.

Me and my dad stood in the sunshine of the back garden and watched that Meteor streak across the blue sky from left to right with the sunshine bouncing off its frame. Then it turned towards us and lowered altitude. It didn't register with me at the time and, in fact, it wasn't until I heard my dad telling the crash investigators later, that when it was just a couple of hundred metres above ground level and just a couple of hundred metres away, it was silent. The roar of it's engines had stopped and it was losing altitude and heading directly for our housing estate....

Some people say the Meteor had fallen below stall speed by then, but I know what I saw. Flt. Lt. Stacey knew if he hit the houses there would be massive loss of life and he took the split second decision to nose dive the stricken Meteor into a patch of open ground between the Willenhall and Ernesford Grange housing estates. I saw the Meteor in a controlled descent until that sudden nose dive. Sadly, the fuel laden plane exploded on impact into a massive fireball which bathed us in heat and left us knowing there was no hope of Flt. Lt. Stacey surviving.

My father and I both ran out of the front of the house and around to the end of the road. The air was thick with smoke and the smell of aircraft fuel. A police car which happened to have been travelling down Lang Bank Avenue was already parked up with two stunned looking Police officers radioing for help and telling the residents to keep back. A WM Travel bus had swerved to a stop on Langbank Avenue ahead of the Police car and according to the Coventry Evening Telegraph the driver had feared the plane was going to his his double decker.*

There's no doubt in my mind that Flt. Lt. Stacey, in his final seconds, saw that bus, the police car and the people in their gardens enjoying the bank holiday sunshine. Maybe he even saw me. Whatever he saw in those final moments, he bravely scarified his own life to avoid a major disaster.

Note: Confusion exists on the internet over which Meteor crashed at Mildenhall after collision with Vampire XH304 25/05/86. WF791 crashed at Baginton & WA669 was the one at Mildenhall.


Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100 - WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain)
2. Flight International 14 Jan 1989
3. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1988.htm
4. http://www.r3uk.com/index.php/blog/156-last-flight-of-wf791-21-years-on
5. http://www.ukserials.com/pdflosses/maas_19880530_wf791.pdf
6. https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/resources/itncollection?s=coventry+crash
7. [LINK NOT WORKING ANYMORE:http://www.coventrymemories.co.uk/memory/?id=1123]
8. http://web.archive.org/web/20130628110831/http://oldcoventryonfilm.vidmeup.com:80/view?q=4f2289942b52b.flv


Images:


Scampton 1988

Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Jun-2008 03:15 JINX Added
20-Dec-2008 10:22 harro Updated
31-Dec-2012 11:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
31-Dec-2012 11:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
31-Dec-2012 11:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
31-Dec-2012 11:40 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
14-Nov-2014 04:20 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
14-Nov-2014 04:25 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Departure airport, Source]
14-Nov-2014 18:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code]
09-May-2015 15:07 Jixon Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
30-May-2015 16:43 Anon. Updated [Photo, ]
01-Jul-2017 14:20 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Departure airport, Narrative]

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