Accident Panavia Tornado F Mk 3 ZE862,
ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 55414
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:Wednesday 10 January 1996
Type:Silhouette image of generic TOR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Panavia Tornado F Mk 3
Owner/operator:56 (Punjab) Sqn RAF
Registration: ZE862
MSN: AT034/3339
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire (EGXC)
Destination airport:RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire (EGXC)
Investigating agency: MoD UK
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Tornado F3s ZE166 and ZE862 collided almost head on during ACT due an error by the pilot of ZE862. One aircraft crashed 50 yards from the Sleaford to Lincoln railway line. Wreckage fell onto the line between Metheringham and Ruskington blocking the line for five hours. The other aircraft crashed at Ewerby near Sleaford. All four crew ejected safely.

Three Tornado F3's took off for a 2v1 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) sortie that was to include Air Combat Training (ACT). ZE166 was acting as the bounce (enemy) aircraft and ZE862 was the number 2 of the other two Tornado's of the formation. Once the aircraft were set at 11,000ft for ZE166 and 15,000 for ZE862 (the number 2 of the formation), the sortie began with ZE166 initially attacking the number 1 of the two Tornado's but once sighting ZE862 they changed their attack to ZE862. Shortly after doing this, the pilot of ZE166 realised that he was too close and began an evasive manoeuvre to avoid ZE862 but was unable to avoid a collision. On ZE862, the pilot remarked "Stanby to mark. My nose, two miles low" which the navigator (and others I assume) assumed the pilot of ZE862 had ZE166 visually. However the pilot of ZE862 was not wearing his corrective glasses and appears to have misinterpreted the distance between the formations.

The aircraft collided at a combined speed of around 1,200 mph. ZE166 was able to continue flying for a short time, although the pilot (despite full opposite control deflection) could only succeed in reducing the rate of roll to the right. They then ejected over open farmland.

ZE862's crew were instantly out of control and the rate of roll succeeded in exceeding 333 degrees per second (maximum recording limit of the ADR) to the right, which forced the crew against the left hand side of the cockpit. The pilot was able to initiate command ejection and in the course of this, the Navigator (Flt Lt Ian Weaver) sustained severe, head, neck and chest injuries which ultimately lead to his medical discharge from the RAF some years later.

Take a look at Ian's story on his website. Truly an inspirational story.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: MoD UK
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. Flight International 4-10 June 1997

Revision history:

20-Mar-2011 15:09 harro Updated [Location, Country, Phase, Source, Narrative]
03-Jul-2011 22:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Location, Source, Narrative]
15-Jan-2012 14:46 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Source]
27-May-2013 00:49 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code]
18-Jan-2014 20:20 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
12-Nov-2014 12:43 sirjames111 Updated [Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Jun-2016 12:03 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport]
14-Nov-2018 15:20 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
27-May-2020 07:40 MIG29 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Operator]
23-Oct-2023 18:30 harro Updated [[Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Operator]]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314