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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 33085
Last updated: 23 July 2020
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Date:21-APR-1982
Time:18:37 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna F172H Skyhawk (Reims)
Owner/operator:Aero Club De L'Est Parisienne
Registration: F-BOGB
C/n / msn: F172-0327
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing
Category:Accident
Location:English Channel, off Anvil Point, near Swanage, Isle of Purbeck, Dorse -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Cherbourg–Maupertus Airport (CER/LFRC)
Destination airport:Eastleigh Airport, Southampton, Hampshire (EGHI)
Investigating agency: AIB
Narrative:
Cessna F.172H Slyhawk F-BOGB: Crashed, presumed destroyed, 21/4/1982 when ran out of fuel on a flight from Cherbourg to Bournemouth and ditched into the English Channel off Anvil Point near Swanage, Isle of Purbeck, Dorset.

The flight had started from one of the Paris GA airfields (Lognes Emerainville) at 14:49. From there the Cessna flew to Meaux, where it took on board three life jackets (which seems odd, as there were four people on board). At 15:04 it took off from Meaux to fly to Caen, where it intended to clear customs en route for the UK. However when the pilot contacted Caen, he was told that customs facilities would not be available there and so he decided to divert to Cherbourg. Cherbourg confirmed that customs clearance would be available for the Cessna's ETA there, but when told that the pilot wished to refuel there, before flying across the Channel to Southampton, the response was that no fuel would be available at his ETA. Despite this he continued to Cherbourg, completed customs clearance there and at 18:04, without refuelling (the pilot said that he had enough fuel for four hours' flying), the Cessna took off bound - according to the pilot's filed VFR flight plan - for Southampton, a flight which should have taken about 40 minutes.

What happened to cause the pilot to change his mind as to his destination never will be known. But rather than him making his first ATC contact with Southampton, it was Bournemouth ATC, at 18:20, which received that radio call. It responded but the pilot did not. Five minutes later the pilot contacted Bournemouth again. It responded but the pilot did not. Six minutes later the pilot broadcast a mayday call. He said that he had suffered engine failure and was ten minutes from the coast. However he went on to say that: 'we are at the end of our fuel reserves'. A minute later he called again saying, in French, that he had engine failure. However a female passenger - who, evidently, had a better command of English - said: 'we are short of petrol'. The pilot said that the Cessna was at about 2500'.

By now West Drayton ATC (the predecessor to today's NATS at Swanick) had become involved. It tried to establish the Cessna's location, in response to which the female passenger said that they were over the sea and heading for Bournemouth with four on board. According to West Drayton ATC, the pilot did not have a clear indication of his range and bearing from Hurn airfield. Then at 18:36 the female passenger reported: 'we can see the coast now'. A minute later she said: 'we are going into the water now'. This was the last radio contact with the Cessna.

At 18:38 West Drayton ATC attempted to scramble the Portland SAR helicopter, but it was unavailable. Thus at 18:45 a helicopter took off from Lee-on-Solent, followed thereafter by two Lynx helicopters from RNAS Yeovilton, a Sea King helicopter from RNAS Portland, a Sea Harrier and several civil aircraft. The Weymouth lifeboat was launched at 19:00 and several other vessels put to sea. All these conducted an extensive search, in the area where the Cessna was believed to have been and ditched, but nothing was found. The search continued until nearly midnight and resumed at first light the next day. It continued all day but when nothing had been found by about 18:00, it was called off.

The AIB report does say that the Cessna was not equipped with a transponder but I would assume that this would not have prevented West Drayton ATC tracking it on radar (although without a transponder, it may have been difficult to identify it precisely in an area where there may have been much aerial activity at the time). However the AIB report goes on to say that:

'Drayton Centre tried to establish the position of the aircraft, and after replying that his altitude was 2500', the pilot reported that his position was '070 ER VOR ER 'CENT' ONE ONE FOUR FOUR DECIMAL FOUR'. After some confusion, and the interpretative assistance of a female passenger, it was established that the aircraft's destination was Bournemouth, that the aircraft was over the English Channel, and that there were four on board. The heading at 18:35 was reported as 'TWO ZERO'. Drayton Centre also determined that the aircraft was not transponder equipped, and that the pilot had no clear idea of his range and bearing from Hurn.'

French registration F-BOGB cancelled by the French Civil Aviation Authorities on 10/5/1982 as "destroyed"

Sources:

1. Reading Evening Post - Thursday 22 April 1982
2. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=16817.0
3. AAIB: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5422f7f5ed915d1371000699/Reims-Cessna_F-172H_F-BOGB_03-83.pdf
4. http://web.archive.org/web/20120928112413/http://www.immat.aviation-civile.gouv.fr:80/immat/servlet/aeronef_liste.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
07-May-2009 11:10 Jerseypilot Updated
01-Sep-2012 15:30 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage]
02-Jun-2013 03:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location]
04-Jun-2014 20:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source]
25-Aug-2014 16:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
23-Oct-2015 20:34 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Oct-2015 20:35 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
23-Jul-2020 17:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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