Incident LET L-13 Blaník BGA1826,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 281220
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Date:Sunday 1 January 1989
Type:Silhouette image of generic ll13 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
LET L-13 Blaník
Owner/operator:Channel Gliding Club
Registration: BGA1826
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Waldershare Park, Whitfield, Dover, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Waldershare Park, Whitfield, Dover, Kent
Destination airport:
LET L-13 Blanik, BGA 1826: The accident occurred on the morning of 1 January 1989. After take off, the instructor released the launch cable at about 300 feet to simulate a cable break. In response to that the student pilot turned to port, rather than landing straight ahead. The instructor then expected the student pilot to execute an 'S' turn but realised, too late, that the student pilot intended to make a 180-degree turn. Over woods, the student pilot over-banked and the Blanik entered an incipient spin. The instructor assumed control and, whilst he recovered from the spin, he was unable to prevent the Blanik crashing into trees which, fortunately, absorbed much of the impact of the crash. The Blanik was written off in the accident.

According to contemporary newspaper reports:

"Daily Telegraph - 2nd January 1989
Flying instructor, David Whyte, 55, and his student pilot, Gerrard Davies, 29, had a lucky escape yesterday when their glider crashed into a copse shortly after take-off from an airfield at the Channel Gliding Club at Waldershare Park, Dover. Mr Whyte was lifted from the wreckage with only cuts and bruises but firemen had to cut free Mr Davies, who broke both his legs and last night was in a 'stable' condition".

However, The accident report in the June/July 1989 issue of Sailplane& Gliding appears to be at odds with the Daily Telegraph report, but I don't know which is right and which is wrong. The former respectively describes the occupants of the Blanik as:

- P.1 : age 54 : 620 flying hours : serious injuries
- P.2 : age 28 : 2 flying hours : minor injuries

Based upon the number of flying hours each had, one would expect the former to have been Gerard Davis, and the instructor, and the latter to have been David Whyte, and the student. But if so:

a) 620 flying hours is a lot to have accrued in just eighteen months (that's nearly 35 hours per month); and
b) if the student had only two flying hours, it would seem to be rather early in his training for the instructor to carry out a simulated cable break and expect the student to handle it; and
c) the record of their injuries appears to have muddled.

I would expect the instructor to have been in the rear seat of the Blanik and the student to have been in the front seat. I would also expect the occupant of the front seat to have suffered the greater impact injuries. If so, it appears that the report in the Daily Telegraph, rather than that in Sailplane & Gliding, is likely to be correct. But on the other hand, I'd anticipate that the report in Sailplane & Gliding would have been based upon that submitted by the Channel Gliding Club to the BGA - which should have been 'from the horse's mouth'.


1. Daily Telegraph - 2nd January 1989
2. Deal, Walmer, & Sandwich Mercury 2 January 1989
3. June/July 1989 issue of Sailplane& Gliding p.143:

Revision history:

08-Aug-2022 00:00 Dr. John Smith Added
08-Aug-2022 00:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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