The Commemorative Air Force's HE-111 Heinkel bomber, the only one of its type left flying, crashed (yesterday) in Cheyenne, WY, enroute to an appearance at the Montana Airfest 2003. Both pilots, the only two known to be on board, perished in the crash. The aircraft went down after flying from its home in Midland, TX, impacting a building under construction at approximately 1300 local time.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - A World War II-era German bomber en route to an airshow crashed into a building under construction Thursday, killing the pilot and his passenger, police said.
Witnesses said they heard a sputtering sound shortly before thetwin-engine HE-111 plowed through a chain link fence and slammed into the brick structure, igniting a fire that lasted an hour, police Lt. Robert Korber said.
A construction worker who was inside the building - an unfinished school bus washing facility - fled and escaped injury, said Tom Rooney of the Laramie County school district.
The bomber was the last of its kind known to be flying in the world, said Tina Corbett, spokeswoman for the
Commemorative Air Force.
The plane belonged to the Arizona wing of the organization, which flies and restores World War II aircraft. The plane was en route from Midland, Texas, to an air show in Montana when the pilot reported engine failure, Corbett said.
The identities of the pilot and passenger were being withheld until their families could be notified.
"The plane came down in a field," Korber said. "We're just grateful (the pilot) probably made the decision that he
saw a residential area in front of him and decided to put it down where there were not a lot of houses, or this could
have been much, much worse."
I've seen the HE-111 at Cavanaugh, and like the aircraft that crashed, it's also a Spanish built CASA aircraft with Rolls Royce power plants I believe (not Jumos). I've heard that most of the CASA built aircraft were powered by Rolls Royce engines (not sure if they're British Rolls or license built Rolls, any corrections are welcome on this).
Cavanaugh Flight Museum has great restoration facilities, and I believe their intent is to make this aircraft flyable. When I last saw it, is was still not flyable, but otherwise in very good condition.
It was indeed RR Merlin powered - saw it flying at Airsho 2000, sounded wonderful, similar to a Mossie. So far as I know the engines were built by Rolls.
Ex Spanish AF, it was delivered to Dog Arnold at Blackbushe by Neil Williams in 1976 (?) and lived there for a while until the CAF acquired it at the end on 1977. Neil went back to Spain to collect another one for Doug Arnold in December 1977 and was lost when it crashed in the Pyrenees. Recommend his book "Airborne" which includes a chapter about ferrying the first aircraft up from Spain.
This particular Heinkel 111 (CASA 2111) had an interesting history. According to one source on the 'net it says:
The sole remaining He 111 in regular use is owned by the Arizona wing of the Commemorative Air Force in the USA. It is a Spanish-built CASA 2.111D that was used to transport VIPs during the Franco regime.
It is pretty astonishing that this is the only flying He 111 if one bears in mind that over 7300 were built
I just had another thought: This Heinkel 111 (Casa 2111) is well over 12,500 lbs so one needs a type-rating to fly it in the US. Pretty cool I think to have He 111 or CASA 2111 on your license ...
How tragic that another warbird type is lost and two lives too. Who would have thought that, almost 60 years after the end of WW2, we would still be losing lives in this way? (3 recent Spitfire fatalities, P38, Thunderbolt, Bearcat, Mosquito etc etc.) Good luck and bless all those who rebuild, maintain and fly these wonderful and historic aircraft. By the way, I believe that this was a sister-shipto the one which claimed the life of Neil Williams. bm
Sad to read about this as the aircraft was based at the same airfield where I have my private aeroplane serviced. Noticed it flying on a regular basis.
A type rating is not necessary to fly these aircraft as they are not built to the specifications of a civil type certificate. A letter of authorization (LOA) is issued by the FAA for their operation with specified named pilots.
The only thing that does not make sense to be about the LOA is that some of my friends have a B25 rating (on their FAA license). As a matter of fact I met one person in CA that has a B25N rating (apparently IFR). Long story short: Is there a difference between a LOA and a type rating? Does the FAA not issue those type ratings for foreign built warbirds and only LOAs?
Just a thought - I might be wrong - but it could also be dependent on the certification status of the aircraft. Some older aircraft may still be flying on a full C of A instead of a permit to fly (CAA) or registered as Experimental (FAA). Say a B25 was once operated commercially on a full C of A, wouldn't the pilot in those days have had a type rating instead of a LOA? Ergo, isn't a LOA only issued for the 'Experimental' warbirds?
On July 10, 2003, approximately 1310 mountain daylight time, N72615, a CASA 2.111, a replica of the Heinkel HE 111, operated by American Airpower Heritage Fly Museum, was destroyed during a forced landing 2 miles southeast of the Cheyenne, Wyoming, Airport. The airline transport certificated captain and first officer were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the cross-country flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Midland, Texas, approximately 1030, and was en route to Missoula, Montana.
Preliminary information indicates the tower controller cleared the pilot to land on runway 26. The airplane was observed on a 3-mile final approach when it entered a left bank. The controller asked the pilot his intentions and he replied, "We just lost our left engine." The airplane struck the ground, went through a chain link fence, struck a parked automobile, and slid into a school bus wash barn. The airplane and wash barn were destroyed in the ensuing fire.