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Accident description
Last updated: 23 October 2017
Date:Saturday 25 April 2015
Time:16:50 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic FA20 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Dassault Falcon 20D
Operator:Cobham Aviation Services
Registration: G-FRAK
C/n / msn: 213
First flight: 1969
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:37 km (23.1 mls) S of Portland Bill (   United Kingdom)
Phase: Maneuvering (MNV)
Departure airport:Bournemouth International Airport (BOH/EGHH), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Bournemouth International Airport (BOH/EGHH), United Kingdom
The aircraft was undertaking target towing operations for a military exercise and was recovering the target whilst flying in an assigned danger area over the English Channel.
With the target approximately 40 m from the aircraft, the target winch accelerated rapidly and the target struck the leading edge of the wing before detaching and travelling over the wing. Although, the launcher and the droop leading edge on the wing were damaged, the aircraft landed safely. The target winch is powered by a turbine, and the speed of the turbine is controlled by vent doors. The target winch had oversped due to a fault with the closed limit switch on the vent doors which prevented the doors from closing.

Probable Cause:

The target accelerated during the latter stages of its recovery, causing it to strike the aircraft. The acceleration was probably due to an overspeed of the target winch as a result of the failure of the vent door closed limit switch preventing the vent doors from closing when commanded. The turbine would then have spooled up, increasing the torque and resulting in the winch accelerating.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 201 days (7 months)
Accident number: EW/C2015/04/05
Download report: Final report

Follow-up / safety actions

AAIB issued 1 Safety Recommendation

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations


photo of Dassault Falcon 20D G-FRAK
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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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