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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 82612
Last updated: 25 February 2020
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Date:21-NOV-1974
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic F4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2
Owner/operator:14 Squadron Royal Air Force (14 Sqn RAF)
Registration: XV441
C/n / msn: 3220
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:nr Maasbree -   Netherlands
Phase: Take off
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Bruggen, (G)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Crashed near Maasbree, Netherlands, after an uncontained fire in the port engine on take off: pilot (Flt. Lt. Mike Keane) stayed with the aircraft to avoid a built up area and ejected safely at the last minute.. The other crew member, Flt. Lt. Ian Vacha, ejected safely shortly after take off.

Per eyewitness report from Al Sawyer (F--4 Navigator at Bruggen at the time):

"What actually happened, as far as I can recall, is that Ian Vacha ejected first, but when the front seater, Mike Keane, pulled the lower handle, nothing happened. He then tried the top handle, also to no avail.

It's true that the aircraft was heading towards a Dutch village, and that Mike stayed with the aircraft, but not for lack of trying to get out. The a/c was burning and he was losing control quickly, but fortunately, as the a/c rolled and the nose dropped, Mike's seat suddenly fired and he was ejected safely. The aircraft continued its manoeuvre away from the village, and although there was some damage, nobody was injured.

The theory was, I believe, that the front canopy had been held on by vortices generated by airflow over the empty rear cockpit. The F-4M seat would not fire as long as the canopy was in place. The changing attitude of the a/c as it departed seems to have changed the airflow sufficiently to allow the system to operate.

The nice bit about the story is that the crash investigators could not find several major parts of the a/c, including at least one of the seats, and none of the villagers seemed able to help. Meanwhile, Mike had been hailed as a hero for staying with the a/c to save the village, about which they were not disabused. When Carnival time came round in February, Mike was invited to be the guest of honour in the carnival parade. When he pitched up at the assembly point to board the main float, he discovered the rest of his a/c. The float was done up as a very realistic F-4 and he was back in his own seat!"

Sources:

1. http://web.archive.org/web/20170818203747/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/project/year_pages/1974.htm
2. http://thephantomshrine.co.uk/Databases/f4-serials.txt
3. https://www.planepictures.net/v3/show_en.php?id=557435
4. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1974.htm
5. http://www.oocities.org/g111258/Accidents.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
14-Nov-2010 11:55 ASN archive Added
21-Nov-2011 18:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Apr-2013 14:03 Nepa Updated [Operator]
02-Jul-2013 14:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
10-Sep-2014 08:02 harro Updated [Location, Narrative]
27-Jan-2015 12:40 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
18-Oct-2018 15:01 Nepa Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Operator]

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