Hard landing Incident McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2 XV434,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 82627
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Date:Tuesday 7 January 1986
Type:Silhouette image of generic F4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2
Owner/operator:29 Sqn RAF
Registration: XV434
MSN: 3167
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Walden Head, Buckden Pike, West Burton, North Yorkshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Connigsby, Lincolnshire (QCY/EGXC)
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On 7th January 1986 the crew on this aircraft were undertaking a low level training flight over the Yorkshire Dales with the aircraft being one of four flying low-level practice interceptions. During the exercise this aircraft began pitching uncontrollably from a 45 degree nosedive to 35 degree climb and everything in between these angles.

The pilot had no chance of recovering the aircraft once the fault had occured and the crew were left with little choice to eject doing so at a speed of 600 mph at low level. The pilot made a very hurried ejection, making a single handed pull of ejection lever with his right hand with his left hand still on controls. He fractured his left arm and elbow on contact with side of cockpit as he went out and landed heavily less than twenty seconds later and broke his right leg on impact with the frozen ground. The navigator ejected after the pilot and he drifted through the exploding aircraft's fireball which burned his parachute, he also lost his helmet and his flying boots were burnt. He was seriously injured as a result of this and on striking the frozen snow-covered ground. Both airmen lay in the snow for around an hour before being rescued.

The aircraft had crashed at Walden Head, south of West Burton and not far from Buckden Pike. Almost all of the aircraft wreckage was recovered in the operation that followed over a number of weeks and at that time it was the lowest and fastest ejection in the history of the RAF. The crash investigation found that the most likely cause of the initial fault was a blockage in the aircraft's feel system bellows and was following re-trimming by the pilot to take the problem into account. The blockage then cleared leaving the aircraft's trim to suddenly change and become uncontrollable.

Both crew - named as Flt. Lt. I. K. Ferguson and Flt. Lt. S.C. Williams - ejected safely

Five months after the accident the navigator was walking again. The pilot returned to flying nine months later and would later convert to fly Tornados. After his retirement from the RAF in 2007 he turned to the Church, he is now pastor at Grace Community Church in Blackburn.


1. http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/planes/dales/xv434.html
2. Flight International 16 May 1987
3. http://www.thephantomshrine.co.uk/Databases/f4-serials.txt
4. https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/view/1024233/
5. http://web.archive.org/web/20170421194614/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/PROJECT/YEAR_Pages/1986.htm
6. http://www.graceccblackburn.co.uk/

Revision history:

14-Nov-2010 11:55 ASN archive Added
21-Nov-2010 13:36 harro Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Source, Narrative]
24-Nov-2011 17:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Source, Narrative]
24-Nov-2011 18:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
06-Feb-2013 15:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Embed code, Narrative]
07-Apr-2013 17:18 Nepa Updated [Operator]
28-Oct-2014 22:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code]
29-Oct-2014 21:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source]

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