ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 245115
Last updated: 23 November 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:13-JAN-1979
Time:morning
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna F172H Skyhawk
Owner/operator:Trehaven Aviation Ltd
Registration: G-AWMJ
C/n / msn: F172-0550
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Biggin Hill Airport, Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Biggin Hill Airport, Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent (BQH/EGKB)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On the night of 12/13 January 1979, during which G-AWMJ was left parked outside at Biggin Hill Airfield. When light came up the following morning it was still only -5º (five degrees below zero) and the Cessna, now shrouded with snow and ice, showed how cold it was. Because there was no de-icer available on the airfield, the snow and ice was cleared from the Cessna with a broom. But maybe because, being a high wing monoplane, the upper surface of the wing was not easily accessible, seemingly the snow and ice was not cleared from that before the Cessna took off that morning with the pilot and three passengers on board.

As the Cessna taxied to the runway, a witness noted that there was snow and ice still in place on the upper surface of the wing. It took off, but seemed unable to gain height and passed over the airfield boundary much lower than would have been expected. It then started to descend and rolling to port. This was followed by a steep bank to starboard, the nose dropped and it dived in vertically. The crash killed all four on board the Cessna.

The AIB investigated. A brief transcript (see link #3) seems to conclude that the extra weight of snow and ice on the wing contributed materially to the crash. This was exacerbated by the fact that the Cessna was considerably overweight and, in the low temperature and high humidity, carburettor icing may also have been part of the problem that morning. The Cessna was destroyed in the crash. The incident was reported on the BBC TV news the same evening (see link #7) and one of those killed had been identified as Adrian Brunswick, aged 26 (see link #9). It is not clear if he was the pilot or one of the passengers.

(Adrian Kenneth Brunswick was born on 18 March 1952 in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, the son of Kenneth Gordon Brunswick (1924-1992) and Audrey D. Brunswick née Tee (b.1924). He died, aged 26 years, on 13 January 1979 in an air crash at Biggin Hill, Bromley. Probate records show that his home address had been 98 Taverners Road, Peterborough and his estate totalled £20,747. Telephone directories show that his father had been a subscriber at this address from 1958 and prior to that date at 34 Northfield Street, Peterborough)

The CAA cancelled its registration on 26 September 1979 as 'destroyed'.

Sources:

1. CAA: History of G-AWMJ 1968-1975: https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AWMJ-1.pdf
2. CAA: History of G-AWMJ 1976-1979: https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AWMJ-2.pdf
3. https://members.gliding.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/04/1430312247_TNS%2011.12.79.pdf (Summary of the AAIB Report is on page 7)
4. G-AWMJ at Portsmouth in September 1970: https://www.airhistory.net/photo/66078/G-AWMJ
5. G-AWMJ at Sandown (EGHN) 24/5/1970: https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/view/1327848
6. http://s617306976.websitehome.co.uk/AYASMagazines/1972%2009.pdf
7. https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/men-died-when-their-light-plane-from-biggin-hill-flying-news-footage/013-79-04
8. https://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=17312.0
9. https://www.londonremembers.com/subjects/adrian-brunswick


Images:

Photo of G-AWMJ courtesy AirHistory.net


Sandown / Isle of Wight (EGHN)
September 1970; (c) M D West

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
22-Nov-2020 21:42 Dr. John Smith Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description