Incidents and Accidents <<

The following is a list of all major incidents and accidents occurring to Trident airliners:

Location                  Date       Marking  Type  Operator

Felthorpe, UK             03/06/66   G-ARPY    1C   Hawker Siddeley

The aircraft has departed Hawker Siddeley's factory airfield at Hatfield in the late afternoon to conduct stalling tests over East Anglia.  On the fourth stall test, the recovery systems were deliberately made inoperative as part of the test, but recovery action from the pilots was left too late and the aircraft first entered a superstall (aka deep stall or stable stall) from which it then entered a flat spin and could not be recovered.  All four test crew were killed.

Kuwait Int'l Airport      30/06/66   9K-ACG    1E   Kuwait Airways

A poor approach to the airport at too high a rate of decent and with insufficient engine power caused the aircraft to crash land three and a half miles short of the runway. There were no fatalities but the aircraft was written off.

London Heathrow Airport   03/07/68   G-ARPT    1C   British European Airways
                                     G-ARPI    1C   British European Airways

An airspeed Ambassador, G-AMAD of BKS Air Services suffered a failure in the flap operating mechanism on one wing, causing the aircraft to bank to the left and lose height. It touched down and left the runway, colliding with two parked Tridents, 'PT and PI. 'PT's entire tail section was torn off whilst 'PI suffered significant damage to its tail. No one was onboard either Trident at the time, but there were six human fatalities on the Ambassador and also a number of equine fatalities. 'PT was written off and after much work, 'PI was repaired.

London Heathrow Airport   29/07/69   G-ARPS    1C   British European Airways

A cabin fire occurred onboard the aircraft whilst parked and it was written off.

Mongolia                  13/09/71    256      1E   CAAC

After an alleged failed coup attempt, a number of senior Chinese officials including Lin Biao (although this was officially denied) were defecting to the USSR when the aircraft they were travelling on crashed, either due to lack of fuel or a missile impact.  Details of Lin's death were kept secret for a year and even today the specific events leading to and surrounding the crash are debated and disputed.

Staines, UK               18/06/72   G-ARPI    1C   British European Airways

Flight BE548 departed Heathrow's runway 28R at 16:08.  As the aircraft climbed its speed was consistently below that that it should have been and this appears to have gone unnoticed.  Then at 1770ft and 162kts IAS, whilst in a 20 bank, the leading edge droops were retracted.  Correct retraction conditions dictated altitude >3000ft, IAS >225kts and wings level.
The aircraft entered a stall which was recovered by the stick pusher.  No further action appeared to be taken and the aircraft entered a second stall.  This time the automatic stall recovery system override lever was pulled

and the aircraft entered a deep stall.  It descended rapidly in a flat attitude with a very low forward airspeed before impacting the ground near the town of Staines.  All 118 persons onboard were killed but thankfully no-one on the ground was injured.

Without a cockpit voice recorder it was not possible to determine with total certainty what did indeed happen.  It was noted from the post-mortem examination that the Captain had an undiagnosed pre-existing heart condition and may have suffered a heart attack and that former instructors of the P2 pilot had noticed he was slow to react in emergency situations.  As a result of this accident it was recommended that all airliners be fitted with a cockpit voice recorder.  The AAIB report can be found here.

Nicosia Airport, Cyprus   22/06/74   5B-DAB    2E   Cyprus Airways
                                     5B-DAC    2E   Cyprus Airways
                                     5B-DAD    1E   Cyprus Airways
                                     5B-DAE    1E   Cyprus Airways

A war broke out on the Island of Cyprus in 1974 during which aircraft of the Turkish air force strafed Cyprus Airways' aircraft at the civilian Nicosia Airport. Trident 2E 5B-DAB was damaged, 5B-DAC was also damaged but later repaired and returned to BA, 5B-DAD also went to BA, but 5B-DAE was completely destroyed.

Bilbao Airport, Spain     15/09/75   G-AVYD    1E   British Airways

On takeoff the Captain decided to abort due to an apparent deceleration caused by the aircraft encountering standing water on the surface of the runway.  It was unable to stop in time and went off the end of the runway.  No one was killed but the aircraft was badly damaged and therefore written off.  the AAIB report can be found here.

London Heathrow Airport   28/12/75    G-ARPC   1C   British Airways

A fire broke out in the cabin whilst the aircraft was parked and it was written off.

Yugoslavia                10/09/76    G-AWZT   3B   British Airways
                                      YU-AJR  DC9   Inex Air Adria

British Airways airways flight BA475 to Istanbul from London was over Yugoslavia at the same time as Inex Air Adria flight JP550 - A DC-9 - heading for Cologne.  The air traffic control at Zagreb was understaffed and the controllers struggling to cope.  It was just around the time of a handover of shifts between two controllers.  The Inex Adria aircraft was cleared to FL350 (2,000ft above the Trident's altitude) and frantic efforts to alert the Inex Adria pilot were made in Croatian and not English, thus denying important information from the British crew.  The DC-9 levelled out and held its altitude, but ironically this resulted in the two aircraft colliding and the deaths of all 176 people onboard both aircraft.  The AAIB report on this incident can be found here.

China                     14/03/79    B-274    2E   CAAC

The aircraft was allegedly taken by an unqualified pilot, from one or other airport and subsequently crashed after takeoff into a local factory causing a large number of fatalities on the ground.  It is unclear whether this occurred at Guangzhou or Beijing.

Mount Yangsu, China       26/04/82    B-266    2E   CAAC

The aircraft crashed into a mountain whilst on approach to Guilin airport.

Fuzhou Airport, China     27/02/83    B-260    2E   CAAC

Aircraft overran the length of the runway on landing roll-out, causing the nose gear to collapse.

Chunchon, South Korea     05/05/83    B-296    2E   CAAC

The aircraft was hijacked and flown to Chunchon, South Korea where it overran the runway but nevertheless, the aircraft and its passengers were later returned to China unharmed.

Guilin Airport, China     14/09/83    B-264    2E   CAAC

An Il-28 collided with the aircraft whilst taxiing resulting in 11 fatalities aboard the Trident.

Kowloon, Hong Kong        31/08/88    B-2218   2E   CAAC

Whilst landing in poor weather and low visibility conditions at Kai Tak, the starboard wing touched the ground and the starboard undercarriage collapsed.  The aircraft veered off the runway and into Kowloon harbour.  There were 7 fatalities and 89 survivors.

Guilin Airport, China     22/03/90    B-2208   2E   CAAC

The aircraft overran the runway after a late touchdown on a wet runway.  There were no fatalities but the aircraft was written off.

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