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Plane down Overbury, Tewkesbury.

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Plane down Overbury, Tewkesbury.

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Old 15th Jan 2018, 23:32
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Does anyone know if G-WAVS was IFR-equipped? Maybe GPS?
I have flown it a dozen times, but it was ages ago and I don't remember any details (anyway things may have changed since).
Flying low would obviously be a very bad decision in such conditions, but because the freezing level was so low, flying higher in cloud would not be a great idea either...

Is there any way to access historical Met Office low level weather charts (F215)? What was the thickness of those clouds?
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 02:00
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Originally Posted by SATCOS WHIPPING BOY View Post
An absence of trees in the photos does not rule out the aircraft hitting one. I was looking in particular at the semi-circular fold in the leading edge of the starboard wing close to the tip. Any thoughts on that please?



I am inclined to agree that damage suggests the wing could have been ripped off by impact with a tree.
It would have then possibly flown like a sycamore seed to drop on the crop. The other wing also departed with very substantial damage.

The tail plane remained intact however the left section of the stabilator is severely bent back.

The wreckage seems to have dropped on its resting position with no ground marks. There is no evidence in those pictures of cartwheeling.

The nose-wheel has not dug in to the ground or snapped off. It appears the the wreckage was travelling sideways otherwise the leg would be under the airframe?

If you look behind the fueslage in the first picture there are some trees.

Is it possible it ploughed through them to its final position?

By all accounts the instructor was very experienced so I doubt he was scud running.

Therefore could it be engine related or pilot incapacitation?

Last edited by Mike Flynn; 16th Jan 2018 at 03:59.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 08:32
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Originally Posted by SATCOS WHIPPING BOY View Post
An absence of trees in the photos does not rule out the aircraft hitting one. I was looking in particular at the semi-circular fold in the leading edge of the starboard wing close to the tip. Any thoughts on that please?
I agree that we cannot rule out it hitting a tree and that some damage COULD have been caused by a tree but it makes everything else that has gone on here very hard to explain if it did hit a tree. I will go through what I am seeing bit by bit but bear in mind I am not an expert (in crashes - aeroplanes I do know a thing about!) and this is just my OPINION and not fact.

The witness report stated seeing an aircraft 'in a tree'. Not having gone through a tree so I'm not sure why so much emphasis is put on this mystery tree? The statement is clearly erroneous in part so why not in full?

The wing spars on a PA-28 are very very strong. You could land this aircraft through a hedge and the wings would stay on. It would take considerable force to pull the wings off - either hitting something solid in passing (like the trunk of a substantial tree but not branches, they are not solid enough) at high speed or an extreme deceleration. I say high speed as if you hit slowly enough you can land actually in a tree and the wings stay on despite the tree stopping you (pictures online of PA-28's intact in trees) I have seen the wings broken at the root fitting (sheared clean through level with the fuse) on a PA-28 aircraft that landed and shortly after went between a pair of trees. Here is the rub though - the wings themselves are incredibly light. For them to have been 'removed' by hitting something with forward motion the fuselage tends to keep going but the wings have next to no inertia (and what they had was robbed by the solid 'thing') so remain where they get removed. So if these wings got removed going through a tree they would not be sat beside it in these images. OK so someone could have moved these wings and laid them beside the fuse but why? That is completely against AAIB protocol and the site was instantly in police lock down.

If you look at the fuse pictures the engine has been pushed up and to the right. The instrument panel is actually outside the cockpit to the right of the fuse so that whole front end has been rotated on impact meaning impact had to be on the lower left corner of the front of the aircraft. The port wing has been sheared off and shows incredible impact deformation the entire length of the wing. Both of these factors show that the aircraft hit the ground left wing and nose down in at least a 45 degree nose down angle. This force ripped the port wing off and forced it up against the port side of the fuse damaging that and taking the port stab off (or at least severely damaging it - hard to see from the photo angles).

Next lets look at the prop blades. If the engine was seized only one blade (if any) would be bent. When these engines stop in flight without seizing the blades continue to windmill. Due to the slow rotation of the windmill the blades tend to bend toward the root of the prop and with a slighter radius bend. The faster the rotation at impact the shorter and sharper the bend. The bends are relatively short (and both are bent) so I conclude the engine was turning fast. The second blade is bent forwards not backwards. For this to happen, by the time that second blade hit the ground the prop disk has to have been angled up away from the ground which clearly agrees with the angle the engine is sat at in the pictures. Had the aircraft been traveling forward this is far less likely to happen so this again agrees with the theory that there was no forward motion but that the aircraft came almost completely vertically down.

As already mentioned in previous posts - there are no marks in the field. This means it stopped where it hit and hasn't slid here.

As to the cartwheel theory - the engine and wings get ripped off and left in the trail when that happens. All this wreckage is in one place exactly as you would expect to find it if had been dropped vertically down. The tail section of all aircraft are EXTREMELY light and fragile. Had it cartwheeled there would be much much more damage to the tail of the aircraft which is pretty much intact in these shots.

What you call a 'semi-circle' at the stbd wingtip I don't think is. The wing tip on these is either made of thermo-plastic or GRP and there is a rib in the tip there. So I think it is actuality more indicative of a flat impact than that a tree trunk... This damage is consistent with this wing being ripped off when the rest of the aircraft came to a very sudden stop (that tells you how much force was involved here). The wing tip would have been pointing up at an angle as the rest of the airframe hit the ground and what inertia there was in the wing (which as stated above isn't much so again - tells how much force we are talking about here) pulled it off. the momentum (resistance at the root) would have caused the very tip then to contact the ground first causing the damage you see in the picture. Note also the main wheel is free of any mud so definitely never got dragged on the ground. The slope here is slight so if it was flown straight and level into the ground this wheel would at least be covered in ground - more likely the entire leg ripped off.

I have said before and I will say again - I don't think this was CFIT. Unless they had turned around they were flying AWAY from the high ground not towards it. EVERYONE flies with skydemon or etc these days so IFR equipped panel or not they would have had warnings on that for terrain. This was loss of control but why is the question we all want answered. Mechanical issues, disorientation, physical incapacitation etc etc...?

I'm more than happy to be wrong but that is how I see it. A near vertical trajectory with the left wing and nose down (as in a spin but that doesn't mean it was spinning).

The extreme rapid deceleration is what would have caused the fatalities (mercifully instantly so no pain or mental stress) which you can read between the lines of the statement the emergency services said which was along the lines of 'immediately apparent' there was nothing to be done.

Condolences to all who knew either of these poor folk. A very sad case indeed.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 12:22
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The wing spars on a PA-28 are very very strong. You could land this aircraft through a hedge and the wings would stay on.
Piper Lance went through a hedge a Booker a few years go and shed at least one wing - the PA-28, 32 and 34 are all pretty much the same basic structure aren't they?
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 13:06
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Yes they are.

Where the wing(s) end up in relation to the fuselage for example, is a good indicator of trajectory and speed pre, impact or final impact.

Last edited by Dan_Brown; 16th Jan 2018 at 17:44.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 13:52
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I decided to learn to fly when I took early retirement. This is my first post and with less than 200 hrs I am certainly not doing so from a wealth of flying experience! I read the threads on PPRuNe and the AAIB reports in an attempt to understand the causes of accidents and learn from the "mistakes" of others. Whatever people say, flying a light aircraft is a risky business and I want to avoid doing anything that tilts the odds against me.

Straight after my PPL I did IMC and Night ratings. Not because I had any intention of planning a flight in IMC but I wanted to give myself the best chance of surviving if I was somehow caught out by the weather. My instructor would never let us fly in real IMC unless the cloud base was 2,000 above any local high ground. In an SEP he wanted to give us the best chance of finding a suitable field and executing a good forced landing. He even mentioned that he had to consider what would happen if he had a medical issue - I would be on my own. There were quite a few days when I looked at the weather and really wanted to go up, but he said no. No chance we would have flown in the conditions on the day of this accident. Even if the student in this case already had good IFR skills you still have the SEP risk

I found a 2008 photo of G-WAVS' panel on line. It was the older King setup but it did have a KLN89 GPS (plus usual radio nav kit) and the avionics might well have been updated over the past 9 yrs. I would be surprised if they did not also have at least one phone or ipad with Skydemon so they must have known where they were. The highly experienced instructor would know about the high ground so it is very hard to believe this was a simple CFIT. Even without the high ground why would he be 1,100ft in IMC so far from the airport he would stay higher and use the ILS. The other Aeros Warrior did not seem to have any icing problems?

Eye witness reports can of course be unreliable but this one suggests they might have had an engine problem prior to the impact?

Lizzie Ransted, who was walking on Bredon Hill at the time of the crash, told the BBC that as she was walking down the hill, she "heard a loud engine sound".
"It was sort of cutting out and then we heard a very loud crash bang. We couldn't see anything.... visibility was so bad," she said.
"But it was the noise. We knew something was not right."

The fact that ATC reported an exact time that radio contact was lost suggests they might have been in active ongoing communication with G-WAVS? Indicating a developing problem?

The AAIB are currently investigating 14 fatal accidents, including this one, the earliest of which happened on 18th Sep 2016. We won't get their perspective on this accident for at least a year.

It's all so very very sad.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 16:59
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Images of PA28s that have hit trees shows same curved "indent". This is from G-LUSH incident. It went through trees at speed, wreckage all ended up together and both wings came off.
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Old 16th Jan 2018, 18:27
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Originally Posted by SATCOS WHIPPING BOY View Post
Images of PA28s that have hit trees shows same curved "indent". This is from G-LUSH incident. It went through trees at speed, wreckage all ended up together and both wings came off.
What is not evident in that picture of LUSH is that it has just hit a brick hangar and wooden shed during the braking phase of a landing. Speed and therefore inertia was correspondingly low. The solidness of the obstacles hit was sufficient to pull the wing off but due to the low speed none of the wreckage went far at all, hence all being in the same place in the pictures. You can see the cowling lines are still all straight with the fuselage and no apparent deformation (there will have been plenty but severe enough to see in this picture) on the fuselage. Very different kettle of fish with WAVS. Still just my opinion though!
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Old 17th Jan 2018, 19:27
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So... I flew over the site today. Really struggled to find it, mostly because it was nowhere near where the media said it was (surprise?). It actually WAS right at the top of the hill (I may have to revisit my stance on CFIT after more inspection as it is much more plausible here). Open Google maps and stick 52.054096,-2.043463 in the search bar (and put it on 'satellite' layer).
The dry stone wall that runs across the NE of the field looks unscathed but I was at 2000ft aml (~1000ft agl) and running in a new top end on a Navion in lots of turbulence so was a tad distracted and couldn't see many ground features that clearly...
Had they been flying from the north this point of this field is (I think...) just lower than the tops of the trees past the dry stone wall to the NE.
I want to try and have another look from slightly lower and when I'm not trying to wrestle an aeroplane to try and pick out any other clues... I did take a picture but it is phone quality so no actual detail to see...
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 02:13
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PM,

Thanks for your update of the location. The previously reported locations didn't make any sense.

Attached are images from GE and Streetmap.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 08:59
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A bit of misreporting re G-LUSH I think.

Accident 1, 2003 involved a hangar.

https://assets.publishing.service.go...pdf_023902.pdf

Accident 2 when the picture in the above post (#67) was taken was in 2017 and didn't involve a hangar but did involve trees.

https://assets.publishing.service.go...LUSH_09-17.pdf
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 10:59
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The location pictures and maps above point to CFIT in my opinion (and that's all this is). Looks like they were flying low from the Evesham direction in IMC and hit the trees on top of the ridge. The ground rises very steeply just up-track of where the wreckage came to rest.

This does not explain why such an experienced pilot who knew the area was that low in IMC. Simple altimeter mis-reading (would be far from the first time that's been done), or engine problems perhaps?

I still think the wreckage shows every sign of impact with trees before coming to rest in the field. The lack of vertical deformation makes stall / spin unlikely in my opinion.
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 19:39
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Thanks smarthawke, I had assumed that the G-LUSH pic was of the earlier incident as I thought it got written off at Meppershall.. I have googled and found other pics of the 2017 incident from other angles. I would still argue that the 2017 incident happened at low speed. As previously stated there is next to no deformation to the fuse and AAIB report (thanks for the link) states that the single occupant walked away with no injuries whatsoever. The energy involved in G-WAVS was astronomically more. The firewall and forward fuse on the PA-28 is the strongest part of that structure and so to be as disfigured as WAVS was took it being stopped very rapidly from a high velocity.

Originally Posted by Shaggy Sheep Driver View Post
The location pictures and maps above point to CFIT in my opinion (and that's all this is). Looks like they were flying low from the Evesham direction in IMC and hit the trees on top of the ridge. The ground rises very steeply just up-track of where the wreckage came to rest.
I'm not picking on you SSD, honest! But we may just have to agree to disagree! If just simply flying low they would have hit the trees first as I'm pretty sure (although not 100%) they are higher than the point of impact. IF the trees are what removed the wings there is NO WAY they would have ended up where they are in the media pictures. That is a long distance to travel and the energy absorbed by the trees in taking the wings off would have meant they would be dumped in that first field. OK so the wings could have been moved before the media shots but why move them to a difficult to place to recover them? There are far easier routes from the tree line to the vehicular access than to traipse them across this sticky field...

If the aircraft was simply descending and just missed the trees and then CFIT into the field it rested in (remember, it hasn't hit the stone wall at the field edge) then unless it was in a steep decent then it would have glanced the ground taking the landing gear off and travelled a long way in the field OR flipped on its back, neither of which have happened...

Originally Posted by Shaggy Sheep Driver View Post
This does not explain why such an experienced pilot who knew the area was that low in IMC. Simple altimeter mis-reading (would be far from the first time that's been done), or engine problems perhaps?
Coventry is the least likely airfield to depart with a miss-set altimeter. The reason being that Birmingham's controlled airspace sits 1500ft directly overhead. There are so many infringements from people flying in and out of there that those who call Cov home base are super vigilant and the controllers drum the QNH into you and the 1500ft climb limit into pilots before clearing (actually they have recently downgraded to A/G so no 'clearance' now!) you to line up. Then on takeoff you are so panicked about your altitude that you are watching it like a hawk and you would instantly notice if you hadn't set it right.

Originally Posted by Shaggy Sheep Driver View Post
I still think the wreckage shows every sign of impact with trees before coming to rest in the field. The lack of vertical deformation makes stall / spin unlikely in my opinion.
You are going to have to explain to me what you mean by 'vertical deformation'. What I see when I look at the wreckage is extreme deformation as if the aircraft were travelling vertically down... Same picture but you and I are seeing polar opposites!!!

So for it to be CFIT for me (and I did say a few post ago that it COULD be CFIT) they would have to have hit the trees, remained intact but lost control enough to have impacted the ground vertically (or with a large vertical component) down and broken apart then. Trouble is the eye (ear?) witness (who is named so more reliable than the witness who saw an aircraft in a tree which clearly NEVER happened as no tree near the final resting place is large enough to hold an aircraft prior to the emergency services removing it...) states a running engine and ONE loud bang. Had it hit the trees it would have been two impacts heard surely?

The other option is that the aircraft was in a very steep decent. A slight descent and it would not show the vertical impact damage it does and would most likely have flipped on hitting the ground.

The ear witness says the engine sounded off. What does a non-pilot know about how an engine should sound? It was making power at the time of impact or the blades would not be bent the way they are. It could have been losing power and therefore in a kind of forced descent. If that were me in IMC I would be at best glide and probably have full flaps. That way even if you don't get a chance to flare at the last second your energy is at the minimum and you have the best possible chance of survival. Had they hit the field they did at 60kts at a 7/1 angle they would have probably survived...

If they were descending to try and visual the ground it would surely have been a slow rate of descent? The forward speed would be high but then it would have flipped not hit and stopped with so much deformation and no apparent 'digging in'?

Still not enough fact available to proclaim it as CFIT or not CFIT methinks...
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 21:45
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There are some photos in this report. PA32 hit a tree and shed a wing with ease. No injuries. He was inbound to us. The impact damage from the tree is clear. https://www.gov.uk/aaib-reports/aaib...ownload-report
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Old 18th Jan 2018, 22:28
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Originally Posted by PeteMonty View Post

Coventry is the least likely airfield to depart with a miss-set altimeter.
I don't think you read my post. I said "mis-read", not "mis set". Big difference.

For the record, I completely disagree with every other point in your post. Have you looked at spin-in pictures on AAIB site? They are quite characteristic in their vertical damage (not apparent in this accident) and the wings still being in about the right place. But it's only my opinion. We'll see in about a year.

Edited to add: Is it a co-incidence that the accident occurred where the track of the aircraft intercepts sudden tree-covered high ground (it's a ridge forming the NE edge of Breedon Hill rising steeply from the relatively low plain of the Severn Valley)? I suppose it could be, but what is most likely?

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Old 18th Jan 2018, 22:44
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Apologies, I did miss-read your statement!‎ You make a good point there. In the distraction of worsening weather it would be easy to see what you expect on an altimeter as opposed to what it is actually saying. Especially with two pilots as each assumes the other is making the call... There have been many cases of minor and major accidents when an instructor assumes the capable PUT has covered something and the PUT assumes the instructor is paying more attention or vice versa...

On the other points, like I say, we will just have to agree to disagree! I do keep stressing that my views are only that - just opinion and with an extremely scant amount of the facts to base it upon at that‎. Thankfully the AAIB will have all the facts and will therefore get it right. Regardless of any of our 'guesswork' this thread has still highlighted many points that we could all do with a refresher on to keep complacency at bay (such as the point above that SSD was originally making that I miss-read!).‎
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 18:20
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Looks like it hit a tree and cartwheeled over the nose and tail.
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Old 23rd Jan 2018, 22:05
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Originally Posted by Shaggy Sheep Driver View Post
Is it a co-incidence that the accident occurred where the track of the aircraft intercepts sudden tree-covered high ground?
This is exactly why I stated that it COULD be CFIT just after finding the crash site from the air. I completely agree that the most likely occurrence is normally what has indeed happened but at the same what did happen is what did - no matter how convenient/inconvenient.

I flew to the crash site from the Coventry direction a couple of days ago and can confirm that the tree line is considerably higher than the place the aircraft impacted. So it remains possible that they clipped the tress and then pulled up, lost control and came down in the place it did but I cannot see that it flew into the ground where it did for the reasons stated in my earlier posts regarding the nature of the impact damage. Of course that is assuming it was still heading for Glos and hadn’t turned around.

BEB – this aircraft did not cartwheel. There is no damage on the fin which would get at least distorted in a cartwheel if not removed altogether. When these aircraft cartwheel they tend to actually look worse than this but the occupants often walk away. This is because the extremity structures act as crumple zones and absorb a lot of the energy. Also cartwheels normally occur in failed landing attempts and so speeds are relatively low. Look up the crash report and photos on G-COVB and you will see what I am talking about. Two elderly occupants extracted themselves and were calmly waiting for the emergency services to arrive despite the aircraft looking in worse shape than this one. It is all to do with the amount of energy and how that is dissipated.

I have been trawling through crash reports for days now trying to find one where the prop tips have been bent one back one forward and I have finally found one. It still won’t let me post URL’s on here so you will have to search for ‘N32396 NTSB’ for the NTSB report and Google image search for ‘N32396’ should get you pictures. According to the eyewitnesses (multiple pilots) it was seen to spin in. It has the same looking impact damage as WAVS. I’m not saying WAVS definitely span but it must have hit the ground with a largely vertical component in nose and wing down attitude to impact the way it has as laid out in my earlier posts. I think others have mentioned a lack of ‘vertical damage’ but what they really mean is damage along the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. A spin is rarely nose down (some will be some wont) especially on PA28’s which tend to spin flatter than say a firefly or chipmunk or etc and like I say the accident report and photo above are of a PA-28 that span in so that proves that a spin accident can look like this.

So yes this COULD have been caused by CFIT but if it was then the initial ‘into terrain’ was only a contributing factor to the final impact and not the impact you see in the pictures. The end impact was a result of loss of control.

One other point of interest is that Glos ATC allegedly immediately called the emergency services. If ATC’s called 999 every time they lost contact with an inbound aircraft there would be a lot of 999 calls… So they don’t. They have overdue procedures etc that take considerably longer. This says to me that they knew more due to radio calls received – again suggesting NOT CFIT (as there isn’t time to call ‘I’m about to hit something I’m not aware is there’). The other PA-28 that was in the area does a 180 degree about face at the exact time ATC say they lost control so I suspect there was a mayday or similar call from WAVS that meant Glos ATC immediately called the emergency services on losing contact and the other PA28 turned to see if they could assist.
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Old 23rd Jan 2018, 22:43
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"So yes this COULD have been caused by CFIT but if it was then the initial ‘into terrain’ was only a contributing factor to the final impact and not the impact you see in the pictures. The end impact was a result of loss of control."

???

Not saying this is what happened but if an aircraft flies, under control, into trees then it is CFIT (That "T" is terrain which includes trees, walls, buildings, whatever else one may encounter on the ground). What happens thereafter is in the lap of the gods.

As for ATC contacting the emergency services, what if G-WAVS was talking to ATC and mid conversation the controller hears "...shit, oh shit oh shit....(then silence)". do you think they will wait the requisite 1 hour beyond notified endurance before informing the emergency services?
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Old 24th Jan 2018, 06:32
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CFIT?

If the aircraft suffered an engine problem that forced it to loose altitude, but was still in IMC conditions (above cloud base) when it hit the terrain, would that still count as CFIT?
It might have been under control but had not cleared the cloud.
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