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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 65656
Last updated: 22 May 2021
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Date:27-MAR-1978
Time:12:45
Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-140
Owner/operator:Woodvale Aero Club
Registration: G-AWBD
MSN: 28-24241
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Piers Gill, Scafell Pike, Cumbria -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Training
Departure airport:RAF Woodvale, Lancashire (EGOW)
Destination airport:Carlisle Airport, Cumbria (EGNC)
Narrative:
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee G-AWBD: Written off (destroyed) when crashed 2,000 feet up Scafell Pike, Cumbria.

On 28th March 1978 this aircraft took off from Woodvale airfield with a qualified flying instructor, a trainee pilot and a passenger to fly a dual control cross-country training flight to Carlisle. The aircraft took off from Woodvale around lunchtime but as the aircraft headed north west the weather conditions were deteriorating. The instructor asked his pupil to fly up the west coast to avoid the mountains of the Lake District, he then contacted Carlisle ATC who told him the weather conditions there were still reasonable. Ahead of the aircraft by this stage lay storm clouds and the instructor then abandoned the flight to Carlisle and was intending on returning to Woodvale, he informed ATC of his intentions. The last communication with ATC was made at 13.45 hours and the aircraft reported missing just under an hour later when it failed to land.

Soon after turning the aircraft around the aircraft entered cloud and probably almost immediately the aircraft began to be blown off course by strong winds and flew into the Lake District. Just prior to crashing the pilot noticed the high ground the aircraft was flying towards and pulled the nose of the aircraft up, it clipped one of the crags of Lingmell before crashing into rocky ground at the head of Piers Gill, a rocky gorge just below Scafell Pike. The aircraft was badly damaged although the cockpit area stayed in one piece. The ground was covered in snow and this probably cushioned the impact slightly. The instructor sustained the more serious injuries but the passenger remarkably escaped injury. Because of the weather and the injuries the pilot had sustained the three men opted to stay with the aircraft and await rescue.

The pilot later recounted in a Cumbria Magazine article in January 2012 that his injuries prevented him moving from the aircraft and that he was also stuck blocking the only exit. Because the aircraft was white and it crashed into snow it was hard to spot. The three men stayed with the aircraft over night on 28th/29th March and it was only on the evening of 29th March 1978 that the aircraft was spotted by a group of fell walkers. The party from Watford Grammar School raised the alarm in Wasdale and rescue teams were alerted. All three were later airlifted from the site by an RAF helicopter

Pilot/Flying Instructor - Mr Robert Bentley, aged 35, of Southport.
Trainee Pilot - Mr Ken Charles, aged 44, of Aughton, Ormskirk.
Passenger/Trainee Pilot - Mr Adam Thornton, aged 17, of Formby. Minor injuries.

Mr Bentley spent many months recovering from his injuries, he sustained a crushed spine and fractures to his arm. He also developed frostbite in his feet before rescue came, and eventually parts of them had to be amputated in hospital.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team applied for permission to remove the wreckage from the mountain (presumably to prevent any "false alarm" call outs) and in Summer 1978 this was complete. They later sold it for scrap. Registration G-AWBD cancelled by the CAA on 19th April 1978 as aircraft "destroyed"

Sources:

1. I was the pilot. self experience.
2. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/lakes/awbd.html
3. http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/HistoricalMaterial/G-AWBD-1.pdf
4. http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/HistoricalMaterial/G-AWBD-2.pdf
5. https://www.na3t.org/air/photo/MS01005-3
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scafell_Pike#Topography


Images:


Taken by a Boys Brigade company from Northern Ireland who were undergoing mountain leadership training in Cumbria at the time of the accident

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
12-Jun-2009 22:45 VHKDK Added
26-Jun-2011 22:01 BOB17T Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Jun-2013 12:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
19-Jun-2013 12:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
14-May-2015 18:06 Adam Updated [Embed code]
14-May-2015 18:07 harro Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
16-Jul-2015 12:40 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
16-Aug-2019 06:32 mck1 Updated [Photo]
10-Sep-2020 21:13 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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