Apache - DAN AIR REMEMBERED

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Apache

INCIDENTS
G-ATFZ - PIPER APACHE - LOXHIL 1st SEPTEMBER 1966
1967 - APACHE

FOR  reasons  that  have not been  ascertained, the pilotof  theDan-Air  Piper  Apache  which  crashed  into  high  ground en route from  Gatwick to Lasham on September 1, 1966, had attempted to  remain  ]below  cloud  when  such an operating  technique  was  not  practicable in the weather  conditions  prevailing. The  air- craft  was on a communications  flight  with two crew  aboard (only  the  pilot  had an instrument  rating)  and  was  well  equipped for  IFR  operation yet the decision  was  taken to fly VFR.  The inspector of accidents in his report  just  published*  notes  that radar   services  were  standing by at Lasham to give  approach guidance to  the Apache, and that the weather information  passed to the pilot indicated a cloud  base at Lasham of 300ft   above  ground   with a visibility of  1.5 to miles. The inspector   notes  tnat "a direct VFR   flight to Lasham   would have  saved considerable time,  and it may be that  this  was  what the   pilot had in mind.   However,in  the circumstances, the decision to attempt the flight below  cloud  was  bad  airmanship and the fundamental cause of the accident." The  aircraft   struck  trees  near the top of the 644ft   Loxhill a   mile   north of Dunsfold.   Both   pilots   were   killed but  the reportconsiders   that the degree of injury   received (almost entirely to the head and upper  torso)  "would  have  been  con- siderably  lessened ifshoulder  harnesses  and  protective helmets had  been  worn."  Only lap straps  were  fitted to the Apache
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