Author Topic: Tiger Moth G-AOZB and Piper Cherokee G-BNNP - fatal collision, 19th May 1990  (Read 589 times)

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Offline Craggs

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I've started this topic following observations posted by Pomme Homme about a fatal mid air collision over the M25 in Surrey on the 19th May 1990. Those observations and comments were originally posted in the topic : Stonegate Landing Ground

On the 19th May 1990, at 4.46pm, two private light aircraft collided close to (or directly overhead) the M25 Motorway near Redhill, Surrey.

One aircraft was a De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth ( G-AOZB ) - there was one occupant, the pilot.

The other aircraft was a Piper PA-29-181 Cherokee ( G-BNNP ) - there were three occupants; the pilot who was under training, a flying instructor and a passenger.

The collision happened in the afternoon of Saturday the 19th May 1990 and some Sunday newspapers reported the basic facts as they were known, or believed, at the time.  More details followed in the newspapers over the ensuing days.


Sunday Independent (Dublin) - Sunday 20 May 1990

4 die as planes crash on M-way

FOUR people died when two light aircraft collided above the M25 Motorway in Surrey early last night. Witnesses said another person leaped from one plane and his parachute only partially opened.
Early today police were still searching for him. Motorists had watched horrified as the Piper Cherokee and vintage Tiger Moth crashed.


Sunday Life - Sunday 20 May 1990

Four die in M25 air crash

FOUR people were killed when two light aircraft collided in midair above the M25 in Surrey last night.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing another person leap from one of the planes as it plummetted to the ground and it was said his parachute only partially opened. Last night, police and tracker dogs were searching woods near the crash site looking for the missing fifth victim.

Motorists had watched in horror as the aircraft - a Piper Cherokee and a vintage 1930's Tiger Moth - crashed on either side of the motorway. Three bodies were found in the wreckage of the Piper and one in the remains of the Tiger Moth.

The crash, at 5.46 pm, was approximately three miles from Redhill Aeordrome in Surrey in one of the busiest stretches of air space in the south.

The Piper plane fell in the playing field of the Royal Alexandra and Albert Foundation school just a few feet away from children. One boy was blown off his feet by the impact. Five children were being treated for shock tonight in the sanitorium of the boarding school run by Surrey county council and a charitable foundation.

Two of the boys, who were all aged about 12, reported seeing someone jump with a paracute from the Tiger Moth. An adult living in the area confirmed the sighting and told police the person's parachute had only partially opened.

Mrs Angela Walsh, wife of the secretary of the foundation, said: "The Piper crashed within feet of one boy and yards of the other four boys being treated for shock."
__________________________________________________________

The above are just two examples of the first news reports of the incident.   At this stage the details of the occupants of the aircraft were not known.

Offline Craggs

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More details of the collision are reported as the facts become clearer...........

Staffordshire Sentinel - Monday 21 May 1990

Grieving father tells of planes crash tragedy

A FORMER North Staffordshire man was one of four people killed when two light aircraft crashed in mid-air above London, it was revealed today.

lan Derricott died when his Piper Cherokee plane collided with a Second World War Tiger Moth and plunged to the ground close to the busy M25. The aircraft narrowly missed a group of girls as it crashed into a school playing field on Saturday night.

CONTRACT

lan's parents Ray and Pam Derricott live in Wilton Avenue, Werrington. A former pupil at Westwood High School, Leek, lan moved to London a number of years ago with his job. He was a business analyist who was working on a multi-million pound contract with Trust House Forte.

He was a qualified pilot who had just shaken hands on a deal to buy his own aircraft. It is not yet known whether lan, 33, was piloting the aircraft. Two other people including his next door neighbour were on board. The aircraft was owned by the flying dub in London which he belonged to.

lan's father learned of the tragedy after he returned from a day out at Wembley watching Leek Town play Barrow. He had arranged to see his eldest son for a drink in London before the FA Trophy final but the coach taking him to Wembley was two hours late leaving North Staffordshire, so he had to go straight to the match and was unable to meet his son.

Mr Derricott said: "We were supposed to meet before the game in a British Legion club, but because we were late I could not make it. I do not know whether he did. He was an experienced pilot. He had flown to France and back and was absolutely meticulous. I was his first passenger and we flew all along the coast of Britain. He was very professional. He wanted to go and buy his own flying school that was his long term plan."

The funeral is not expected to take place until early next week.

The crash happened over Reigate. Surrey, in an air channel between Gatwick and Heathrow.



Newcastle Journal - Monday 21 May 1990

Crash plane on training flight

A flying student and instructor were among four people killed when two light aircraft collided over the M25 motorway, police said yesterday.

The victims had not been positively identified and it could be months before investigators discover why the aircraft, both on different flight paths, crashed into one another, Superintendent Pat Crossan said.

Police carried out an inch by inch search while crash experts, gloved and in white boiler suits, examined wreckage in a school playing field and on the other side of the motorway in a cow field, near Reigate, Surrey.

It is not known if the student was at the controls of the Piper Cherokee owned by Redhill Flying Club, which collided with a 1930's Tiger Moth on Saturday.

A third victim from the Piper was a friend of the instructor,  Superintendent Crossan said.  The two men were in their 30's and, like the flying student, came from South London.

The fourth victim, a man in his 20's from Thames Ditton, was flying the privately owned Tiger Moth to an airstrip in Chessington.  The Piper was returning from a local flight.

The tail of the four-seater Piper was all that was recognisable from the wreckage strewn between goalposts on the playing field the Royal Alexandra and Albert Foundation School.

Offline Craggs

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This newspaper article gives the name of another of the victims of the collision ............


Kingston Informer - Friday 25 May 1990

AIR SMASH MYSTERY

TWO Kingston men were among four people who died in a mid-air plane collision over Reigate on Saturday.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a fifth victim leap from the plane, but a search of the area by ambulance and fire crews from Epsom failed to find a body. "We think what people saw was not in fact a person leaping from a plane, but a piece of debris," said a Surrey police spokeswoman.

The crash happened at 5.30 pm after a vintage Tiger Moth and a Piper Cherokee collided over Reigate, near the M25 motorway. Both had taken off from Redhill Airport.

Eyewitness Gary Sandercock said the planes had been flying straight for each other. "There were no aerobatics," he said. "The Piper went into the Tiger Moth at a 45-degree angle."

The Tiger Moth had been on route to a private landing strip in Chessington and the Piper Cherokee was returning from a local flight.

John David Frankel, 31, a company director, who lived in Portsmouth Avenue, Thames Ditton, was among those killed. He leaves a wife.

The name of a second man from Kingston is being released on Friday, along with the two others who died.

The charred wreckage from one plane was later found on the central reservation of the M25 at Upper Gatton, and five children narrowly missed being hit by falling debris at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Gatton Park, Reigate. The youngsters, three girls and two boys, aged between 11 and 12, were treated for shock.

One of Britain's most experienced flying instructors said he knew a crash was waiting to happen. "I personally warned the Civil Aviation Authority and the National Air Traffic Service on several occasions over several years that it would happen," said Ron Campbell, chairman of the Aircraft Owners' and Pilots' Association.

Offline Craggs

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I'm encountering a bit of difficulty finding the names of the other two victims of this mid-air collision. 

If anyone can help or can add to the topic then please feel free to do so.  Pomme Homme, if you wish to add the details which you posted in the "Stonegate Landing Ground" topic then please do.

The collision happened in May 1990 - the Coroner's Inquest was held later in the year.


Staffordshire Sentinel - Tuesday 02 October 1990

Piper pilot did not see other plane

A FORMER North Staffordshire pilot who died in a mystery plane crash was on a training course at the time, an inquest heard.

lan Derricot was one of four people killed when his Piper Cherokee plunged to the ground after colliding with a Tiger Moth near Reigate in Surrey last May.

It is not known whether Mr Derricott, 33, was piloting the Cherokee at the time of the crash, in which there were no survivors. The inquest heard Mr Derricott was on an instrument training course and was wearing a special visor. 

His friend, Miss Christine Brewin said: "He would not have seen anything outside the aeroplane at all."

It is not known whether the pilot of the Tiger Moth, Mr David Frankel, 31, of Thames Ditton, was wearing his glasses at the time of the crash.

The inquest heard both planes had blind spots and their colouring may have contributed to the disaster. The Piper was skycoloured and the Tiger Moth green.

A jury returned a verdict of accidental death on all four of the dead men.

Mr Derricott, a former pupil at Westwood High School, Leek, moved to London several years ago with his job. His parents, Ray and Pam Derricott, live in Wilton Avenue. Werrington.

Online pomme homme

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I hope that you don't mind, Noel, if I re-post the hyperlink (here) to the AAIB accident investigation report which offers a somewhat more objective analysis of the circumstances and the causes of the mid-air collision.

[footnote: acting independently, Noel, but thinking alike!]

Offline Craggs

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Please do - we must have posted at the same time.

Yes please - the AAIB report is very interesting.

Online pomme homme

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This fatal collision occurred only thirteen months after the Cherokee had lost part of its starboard undercarriage, on taking off from Redhill Airfield, and had had to make a landing on the two remaining - the port main and nose - undercarriage wheels (see here).

Offline John

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Daily Telegraph - 21 May 1990

Police examining the wreckage of the Tiger Moth in a field 100 yards from the M25 after the mid-air collision.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline John

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Caterham Mirror - Thursday 24 May 1990
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline GraceCourt

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I came across this post when searching to confirm my recollection of the exact date of the accident.  Given the length of time that has elapsed, and since this is a history site (i.e. concerned with the facts rather than with anything else), I've decided to add my own personal experience.

When the accident happened, I was driving home westbound on the M25, having completed a shift as a police officer at Reigate. For unconnected reasons, I was monitoring M2HJ1 - the incident allocation VHF channel operated by Surrey Police - and a fairly informative account came out over the air.  That initial account contained two important facts: one, that there were two planes involved and consequently two crash sites, and two, that debris had fallen on the live lanes of the M25.  It was therefore immediately apparent that at least three supervisors would be needed to take the urgent initial action required - one at each of the crash sites and one at Reigate Control Room.  I called up accordingly, did a 180-degree turn at the next intersection, and made my way back to Reigate.

The matter I wanted to record relates to the three deceased in the Piper Cherokee.  Once the flight documents were secured from Redhill, there was a problem.  The paperwork showed two men and a young woman on the flight, but officers at the scene confirmed that the three deceased were without doubt all male.  Officers were sent to the home of the young woman and a short while later a vital telephone call was received: the young woman was telephoning from a public call box in Redhill: she had just met friends who had told her that the police were urgently trying to find her.  Long story short, she had been due to fly in G-BNNP, but had gone up earlier in (I think) a different aircraft.  At that time I couldn't tell her what was wrong, but her account explained the anomaly.

I never did find out if the fateful decision by the deceased man (whom I think was a neighbour of another passenger) to take her place had additional adverse consequences for his family, but I know that the young girl, once she had found out the awful truth, will never forget it.

Online pomme homme

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Thank you, GraceCourt, for your post and welcome to the forum. As ever, it is both interesting and valuable, for the record, to have posts based upon personal knowledge and experience. Thank you for yours.