Accident Cessna F172H Skyhawk G-AWMJ,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 245115
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Date:Saturday 13 January 1979
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna F172H Skyhawk
Owner/operator:Trehaven Aviation Ltd
Registration: G-AWMJ
MSN: F172-0550
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Biggin Hill Airport, Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Biggin Hill Airport, Biggin Hill, Bromley, Kent (BQH/EGKB)
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On the night of 12/13 January 1979, during which G-AWMJ was left parked outside at Biggin Hill Airfield. When light came up the following morning it was still only -5º (five degrees below zero) and the Cessna, now shrouded with snow and ice, showed how cold it was. Because there was no de-icer available on the airfield, the snow and ice was cleared from the Cessna with a broom. But maybe because, being a high wing monoplane, the upper surface of the wing was not easily accessible, seemingly the snow and ice was not cleared from that before the Cessna took off that morning with the pilot and three passengers on board.

As the Cessna taxied to the runway, a witness noted that there was snow and ice still in place on the upper surface of the wing. It took off, but seemed unable to gain height and passed over the airfield boundary much lower than would have been expected. It then started to descend and rolling to port. This was followed by a steep bank to starboard, the nose dropped and it dived in vertically. The crash killed all four on board the Cessna.

The AAIB investigated. A brief transcript (see link #3) seems to conclude that the extra weight of snow and ice on the wing contributed materially to the crash. This was exacerbated by the fact that the Cessna was considerably overweight and, in the low temperature and high humidity, carburettor icing may also have been part of the problem that morning. The Cessna was destroyed in the crash. The incident was reported on the BBC TV news the same evening (see link #7) and one of those killed had been identified as Adrian Brunswick, aged 26 (see link #9).According to a contemporary newspaper report ("Sevenoaks Chronicle" - Saturday 27 January 1979) which named the four fatalities:

"THE INQUEST was opened and adjourned at Croydon Coroner’s Court into the deaths of four men who died when their plane crashed after taking off from Biggin Hill Airport.

The four men, all employed in the GLC Architects department, were in a four-seater Cessna monoplane which belonged to Biggin Hill Flying Club. They were having a trip out to take aerial photographs of interesting countryside, and had planned to go as far as Gloucester.

The pilot was 26-year-old Geoffrey Raymond Mills, of Old Road, Lee. He was unmarried and was a surveyor.

The three passengers were David Terrance Ashmore (29), of Lordship Lane, East Dulwich; Michael John Norton (37), High Street, Hampton Hill, Middlesex, who was the only married man in the party, and Adrian Kenneth Brunswick (26), of Southwood Avenue, Highgate.

They were all formally identified by close relatives. A date of the resumed inquest has yet to be fixed, but it will not be until the damaged plane has been examined by investigators from the RAF at Farnborough, Hampshire".

The CAA cancelled its registration on 26 September 1979 as 'destroyed'.


1. CAA: History of G-AWMJ 1968-1975:
2. CAA: History of G-AWMJ 1976-1979:
3. (Summary of the AAIB Report is on page 7)
4. "Sevenoaks Chronicle" - Saturday 27 January 1979
5. G-AWMJ at Portsmouth in September 1970:
6. G-AWMJ at Sandown (EGHN) 24/5/1970:

Revision history:

22-Nov-2020 21:42 Dr. John Smith Added
18-Sep-2022 22:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative, Category]

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