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Author Topic: Four die as aircraft and helicopter crash in mid-air near Waddesdon: 17 Nov 2017  (Read 812 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: November 18, 2017, 12:54:00 am »

From the BBC:

Four die as aircraft and helicopter crash in mid-air near Waddesdon

Thames Valley Police said four people died in the mid-air crash

Four people have died after an aircraft and a helicopter crashed in mid-air over Buckinghamshire.

Two people were killed in each aircraft, Thames Valley Police said.

Police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said they have launched a joint investigation to establish the cause of the collision just after midday at Waddesdon Estate, near Aylesbury.

A Wycombe Air Park spokesman said both aircraft came from the airfield.

Supt Rebecca Mears, from Thames Valley Police, said she could not give any details of the identity or the genders of the victims at this stage and her "first priority" was the next of kin.

She said it was "too early to tell" what might have caused the crash.

The AAIB said the plane involved was a Cessna.

Emergency services were called to Upper Winchendon, close to Waddesdon Manor, at 12:06 GMT.

Mitch Missen, an off-duty firefighter, witnessed the crash from his garden. He said: "I looked up and saw as both collided in mid-air, followed by a large bang and falling debris. I rushed in to get my car keys and en route called the emergency services, who I continued to give updates as to its whereabouts. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to locate the actual crash site but directed police, fire and ambulance as best I could. Once they were on the scene, I returned home."

Andy Parry, a teacher in Aylesbury, said he was with students at Waddesdon Manor at the time of the crash. He said they heard a "massive bang" and saw debris in the sky.

There were a number of road closures following the crash but they have since been lifted.

Seven fire vehicles from Aylesbury, Haddenham, Oxfordshire and Berkshire were sent to the scene.

A spokesman for Bucks Fire and Rescue Service said 30 members of staff in fire engines and urban search and rescue vehicles attended. He added: "I understand it is in a wooded area near the manor."

The Thames Valley air ambulance, two ambulance crews, two ambulance officers and a rapid response vehicle were also sent to the scene.

Hayley O'Keefe, from The Bucks Herald, said on Twitter a "plume of smoke" could be seen close to Waddesdon Hill after the crash.

The Rev Mary Cruddas from St Mary Magdalene Church, Upper Winchendon, said she had been to the site to see if she could be of any help. She said: "The area where it happened is off road and difficult to get to."

A spokesperson for the National Trust-owned Waddesdon Manor said the crash had not happened in its grounds, but staff helped direct the emergency services to the scene.

Wycombe Air Park, also known as Booker Airfield, is about 20 miles (32km) away from the site of the crash and offers flight training.


William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Thatcham Crossing
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2017, 09:45:27 am »

I'm a former Wycombe-based Private Pilot and member of the club operating the fixed-wing aircraft involved today.

As someone who used to fly in that airspace regularly, yesterdays news came as a shock, and was also accompanied by the usual "there but for the grace of god" sentiments.

Most GA (General Aviation) pilots in the UK will have had a few "near-misses", coming close to other aircraft in such open (ie, uncontrolled) airspace, sometimes in circumstances that meant it would have been too late to avoid a collision had their courses actually met. I had one (whilst on a flight returning to Wycombe from a day trip to France) and it's become very fresh in my mind again after this news.

Sadly, even the most steely-eyed lookouts can't cater for the limited view and blindspots (eg, an aircraft below you, climbing towards you, but in the piece of airspace out of view under the nose) that most light aircraft have, in one way or another, and procedures like "looking into the turn" before you make it are often not carried out as well as they should be.

Radar services are available in that area, but they usually will only be providing what's known as a "Basic" service, which provides conspicuity and information concerning other aircraft in the area, but not true "de-confliction". Rarely, in good weather, would this service be requested, and often the ATC units concerned would not be able to provide it, due to density of traffic (ie, too many contacts, doing there own thing in open airspace, to be able to deconflict meaningfully) or controller workload.

A truly sad event. Condolences to all involved.

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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2017, 05:58:33 pm »

Thank you TC for that honest observation.
It's certainly the same with bus driving; a near miss is often reflected as "no-where near as good as I should have been; that could have been bad"

Personal opinion only.  Writings not representative of any union, collective, management or employer. (Think that absolves me...........)
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 06:58:29 pm »

An update, from the BBC:

Waddesdon air crash: Helicopter instructor among victims

Capt Mike Green was described as a 'respected' helicopter instructor

One of the victims of a mid-air crash between a helicopter and a plane was Capt Mike Green, his employer has confirmed.

Four men were killed in Friday's crash at Waddesdon Estate, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. There were no survivors.

Capt Mike Green was conducting a flight instructor course with a student when they both died, Helicopter Services said on Facebook.

The firm said it was "devastated".  It added: "We have received many messages of support and kind words about our friend who, as a senior instructor and examiner, helped and mentored so many pilots throughout the industry during his distinguished career. It was an honour to work with you. Captain Green, you will be greatly missed."

Capt Green's friend, Capt Phil Croucher, said he was a "respected helicopter instructor who will be remembered with affection".

"It's a sad loss. We have lost somebody with a vast amount of experience that could have been passed on to younger people, apart from him being a nice guy generally," he told the Press Association.

Three of the victims' families visited the site of the wreckage scattered across a wooded area, on Saturday, Thames Valley Police said.

Investigations at the site, conducted by police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) are expected to continue for several days.

Supt Rebecca Mears said it was "too early to tell" what might have caused the crash. "With the ongoing support of emergency services, work is continuing to recover the men's bodies. We anticipate that this will happen by the end of the day," she added.

Both aircraft involved in the crash were from Wycombe Air Park

The helicopter and the Cessna plane both took off from Wycombe Air Park, also known as Booker Airfield, which offers flight training.

It is about 20 miles (30km) from the site of the crash. Emergency services were called shortly after midday on Friday.

Police said the priority was giving information to the victims' next of kin.


William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
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