1997 losses

02/01/1997 XZ318   Gazelle AH1 654 Sqn The aircraft was detached to Banja Luka, Bosnia as part of the British NATO/SFOR peace keeping force. Following a severe ice rain storm during the night the aircraft became covered in ice even though it had been fully blanketed. A technician began to remove the ice with a nylon mallet which made a large amount of indentations to the skin of the aircraft. It was returned to the UK and sent to Fleetlands for repair assessment but was deemed to damaged beyond economical repair
09/01/1997 ZD377 25  Harrier GR7 4 Sqn Pitched down during take off from Laarbruch, Germany due to a fault in the flap auto sensor system which put the flaps in the fully lowered position. When the pilot rotated the nozzles after the short take off the thrust blew directly onto the flaps. Impossible to correct the pitch, the Pilot ejected and landed on the airfield breaking a leg. Fortunately a cross wind blew him away from the still moving aircraft and it slid past him inverted
14/02/1997 XZ300 L Gazelle AH1 670 Sqn The pilot had to take violent evasive action during the final stages of a practice autorotation onto the airfield at Middle Wallop to avoid another Gazelle which was climbing out of the airfield. All the available lift was used during the manoeuvre and the aircraft hit the ground heavily causing the main rotors to sever the fenestron tail fan assembly. The aircraft came to rest lying on its port side having suffered impact damage to the tail boom. Both crew escaped safely. Allocated to ground instruction at Bramley, Hampshire
15/02/1997 XW225   Puma HC1 18 Sqn Insufficient ground references could be found at the intended landing site near Urspring, Germany due to snow fall and when using night vision goggles. Another site was selected 200 yards away. In the final stages of landing the crewman who was monitoring snow build up lost all visual references and called for an overshoot. The pilot applied power and almost immediately struck some trees on a steep bank. Two crew and five passengers were able to escape but the pilot was killed. To Benson for possible rebuild but this was not sanctioned and the aircraft was scrapped
18/02/1997 XZ728 MM-415 Lynx HAS3 815 NAS Broke free from its lashings while preparing for take off from HMS Monmouth in rough seas fifteen miles south of Eddystone rocks on the south Devon coast. It fell over the side of the ship and sank. Both crew were rescued uninjured by the ships seaboat. It was recovered and taken to Fleetlands and was deemed to be damaged beyond repair. Displayed on the gate at Yeovilton and allocated A2852
04/1997 XX830   Jaguar T2A ETPS The aircraft arrived at St. Athan on 15th October 1996 for overhaul. Either prior to or during the work the main fuel tank was punctured. Attempts to rectify the problem failed and the aircraft was deemed to be damaged beyond economical repair. The fuselage was put into store here before moving to Shawbury and later to Warton for new engine fitment trials
03/04/1997 XP849   Scout AH1 ETPS Damaged beyond economical repair following a heavy landing at Netheravon, Wiltshire when the main rotor struck the tail rotor. It was transported back to Boscombe Down and was put up for disposal
08/04/1997 XX343 3 Hawk T1 ETPS Slewed to the left off the runway on take off from Boscombe Down, Wiltshire after the port tyre burst. It ran across the grass, through some trees and through a fence within the airfield, coming to rest in a compound. Both crew ejected and were taken to hospital. The student test pilot received spinal injuries while the instructor received minor injuries
15/05/1997 ZG753 F Tornado F3 1435 Flt Suffered an engine fire possibly due to catastrophic failure of part of the Secondary Power System when 500 miles north of the Ascension Islands during a transit flight from Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands to Coningsby. The pilot made an emergency landing back at Ascension and damage to the aircraft was assessed as CAT 3. It was airlifted to Cardiff by HeavyLift Belfast G-BEPS (formerly XR368) arriving there on 20th July and was then transferred by road to St. Athan for inspection. Later re-assessed as CAT 5 and the rear fuselage was mated to ZE163 during mid 1999. This aircraft suffered CAT 3 structural damage on the ground at Coningsby during early 1997 when the wings were swept back whilst the flaps were extended
19/05/1997 ZD400 29 Harrier GR7 1 Sqn Control was lost after the pilot selected the nozzles to ‘hover stop’ He was unable to regain control and ejected. The aircraft struck the ground near to White Water Reservoir close to the northern perimeter of Wittering, Cambridgeshire. It then became airborne again for approximately ½ mile before crashing into trees
03/06/1997 ZG861 93 Harrier GR7 3 Sqn Suffered engine failure due to compressor blade failure. The pilot ejected at 700 ft and it crashed into woods five miles south east of Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway. It had been on a three aircraft sortie from Honington during Exercise Hill Foil 97/1. The pilot was taken by an 819 NAS Sea King to Newcastle hospital
24/06/1997 ZD991 722 Harrier T8 899 NAS Two minutes after take off from Yeovilton, Somerset a muffled explosion was heard followed by a fire warning. An emergency landing was made back at base and the aircraft was taxied onto the grass where the crew quickly vacated. Hot gases from a crack in the exhaust caused failure of the engine heat blanket and damage to the aircraft’s structure. To St. Athan for store
21/07/1997 XX710 05 Bulldog T1 Manchester UAS The engine cut at 200ft during a climb out from an overshoot at Woodvale, Merseyside due to low fuel. The instructor attempted to turn the aircraft back towards the airfield but it stalled and crashed. The instructor was killed in the crash and the female student died later from her injuries
20/09/1997 XX665   Bulldog T1 Glasgow UAS Force landed in a field near Balloch, Strathclyde after suffering engine problems. The two crew were uninjured. It was withdrawn from use and placed in store at Newton. The pilot was also involved in the incident involving XX666 on 5th March 1999. The aircraft was allocated to Herts & Bucks ATC Sqn at Halton during December 2000
28/09/1997 XX443 Y Gazelle AH1 658 Sqn Damaged in a heavy landing in a field ten miles north east of Carlisle, Cumbria. It was not repaired and was allocated to ground instruction at Middle Wallop
31/10/1997 ZD324 05 Harrier GR7 20(R) Sqn Suffered engine failure while on approach to Wittering on return from a detachment to Coningsby. The 3 Squadron pilot ejected safely at 600 ft and the aircraft crashed into woodlands
25/11/1997 ZD462 52 Harrier GR7 1 Sqn Due to President Saddam Hussein’s expulsion of UN weapons inspectors from Iraq a build up of forces was mounted in case military action was needed. The aircraft was part of a 1 Squadron detachment aboard HMS Invincible and was en-route to the Gulf. The aircraft was unable to maintain the hover due to an under performing engine while alongside the ship in the Mediterranean off Sardinia. It overshot the ship into the pitch black, lost all power and struck the water. It remained afloat and the pilot was able to quickly abandon the cockpit and was soon picked up by a Sea King. Divers were able to fit floatation bags under the aircraft to keep it afloat long enough for a crane to lift it back onto the deck of Invincible. Damage was restricted to sea water contamination and it was transported to St. Athan for repair assessment. Deemed to damaged beyond repair it was allocated to 1 SoTT at Cosford
18/12/1997 XR806   VC10 C1K 10 Sqn Damaged at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire when it was being de-fuelled. The 'T' tail fin of a VC-10 contains fuel which should be drained before the main tanks to maintain the correct centre of gravity. In this instance the gauge indicated that the fin tanks were empty when they were not. As the main tanks drained, the centre of gravity shifted and caused the aircraft to rear up and the tail section to strike the ground. It remained in this position for several hours before the tanks were drained and the aircraft was righted by cranes. The rear fuselage and tail section were damaged which later resulted in the aircraft being deemed damaged beyond economical repair

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