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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 31466
Last updated: 16 November 2020
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Date:25-NOV-1978
Time:12:02 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic RALL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Socata Rallye 150ST
Owner/operator:Air Touring Services Ltd
Registration: G-BEVX
C/n / msn: 2930
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Biggin Hill Airport, Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Training
Departure airport:Biggin Hill Airport, Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent (BQH/EGKB)
Destination airport:Biggin Hill Airport, Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent (BQH/EGKB)
Investigating agency: AIB
Narrative:
On 25 November 1978 a student pilot had been practising circuits at Biggin Hill Airfield in Rallye 150 G-BEVX. At about mid-day he overshot the grass runway, turned to port and climbed away parallel to the active main paved runway. At the same time Cessna 150 G-BAZP was re-joining the circuit and, to do so, flew across the mid-point of the active runway. These brought the two aeroplanes into close proximity at about 800 feet (according to the pilot of the Cessna - other witnesses and theories suggested about 500 feet). Only when it was too late to avoid a collision, the pilot of the Cessna saw the Rallye below him on his port side. It would appear that the pilot of the Rallye did not see the Cessna. At the same time the airfield flight controller saw the two aeroplanes converging, but they were too close to broadcast a warning to them. Neither took any avoiding action, it being too late to do so, before they collided. The tail surfaces of the Rallye impacted with the nose and main wheels of the Cessna. The impact sequences was as follows:

- the nose wheel of Cessna hit and cut through the port tail plane of the Rallye
- the propeller of the Cessna cut through the leading edge of the rudder of the Rallye
- the starboard side of the engine cowling of the Cessna hit the rudder and fin of the Rallye
- the port main wheel and leg of the Cessna hit the port tip of the elevator of the Rallye

In consequence, the rudder, port tail plane and half the port elevator of the Rallye detached from the fuselage. Its nose dropped, it went into a steep, uncontrollable dive (in the course of which the remainder of the port elevator detached) and crashed onto the airfield. The pilot was killed on impact. The Cessna suffered less damage and was able to continue flying. He intended to land back on the airfield. However perhaps affected by the collision that had just occurred, he realised that the Cessna was in a steep dive. Presumably he pulled up too steeply, for witnesses say that the Cessna then stalled and continued to lose height. Thus the pilot elected to land in two small fields ahead of him. He did so heavily, just short of the boundary between the two, and then the nose leg of the undercarriage collapsed and the Cessna nosed over, sliding through a wire fence and overturning. Fortunately there was no fire and the pilot and his passenger, his five year old son, were able to escape the Cessna with no more than cuts and bruises. The Rallye was destroyed and the Cessna was damaged beyond repair. Their registrations respectively were cancelled by the CAA as 'destroyed' on 24 June 1983 (Rallye) and 1 December 1978 (Cessna).

The accident was investigated by the AAIB, which produced a report on 13 August 1980. It attributed blame, partly mitigated, to the pilot of the Cessna in the following terms:

'The collision resulted from the failure of the commander of the Cessna to see and give way to the Rallye which was on his right. His failure to manoeuvre the Cessna as he approached the busy circuit caused his field of view to be restricted by the windscreen pillar. The failure of the commander of the Rallye to keep a sufficient look-out to ensure that his aircraft did not collide with other aircraft was a contributory factor.'

The pilot fatality as later named as Paul Adrian Lovell who died 25 November 1978 was cremated 4 December 1978 at Lewisham, South East London

Sources:

1. Sunday Mirror - Sunday 26 November 1978
2. AAIB: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5422f3db40f0b6134200044b/4-1980_G-BAZP_and_G-BEVX.pdf
3. AAIB Appendices: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5422f3dce5274a1314000497/4-1980_G-BAZP_and_G-BEVX_Appendices.pdf
4. CAA: https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-BEVX.pdf
5. http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rallye.pdf
6. https://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=17542.0

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration:
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
15-Jul-2015 10:28 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
15-Jul-2015 10:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
16-Nov-2020 20:19 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Accident report]
16-Nov-2020 20:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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