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Inquest told of countdown to runway crash

PUBLISHED: 16:30 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:16 12 August 2010

A CRASH that killed a pilot as he hit a grounded jet when he was unable to take off was an accident, an inquest ruled last Friday. Steven Davis, 36, from Orpington, died when his De Havilland Turbo Beaver struck a static display aircraft at the end of a

A CRASH that killed a pilot as he hit a grounded jet when he was unable to take off was an accident, an inquest ruled last Friday.

Steven Davis, 36, from Orpington, died when his De Havilland Turbo Beaver struck a static display aircraft at the end of a runway on March 11 last year.

The experienced pilot crashed as he was due to take eight parachutists on a jump from Headcorn aerodrome.

Jump master Simon Hughes told the inquest at County Hall in Maidstone how he heard the pilot shout "abort" and one of the parachutists shout "brace, brace, everyone on the floor" before the left wing and cockpit of the aircraft collided with a camouflaged F100 fighter jet parked as a museum exhibit off the end of the runway.

The nine-strong jury heard how earlier Mr Davis had completed a series of lifts for parachutes and had requested permission to use shorter runway 21 due to cross-winds on runway 29.

He was granted permission after two check flights. At 4.05pm, the aircraft taxied onto the runway and accelerated normally but did not take off.

Mr Davis was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel but died from his injuries.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch claimed that the aircraft's wing flaps had not been set correctly for take off.

Delivering a verdict of accidental death, coroner Stephen Beck said he intended to make a recommendation to the Civil Aviation Authority that unlicensed runways, such as Headcorn's runway 21, comply with licensed runways in relation to their end markings and distances.


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