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How time flies by - F4 Crash, Abingdon 88

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How time flies by - F4 Crash, Abingdon 88

Old 24th Sep 2010, 19:38
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How time flies by - F4 Crash, Abingdon 88

Was reminded yesterday (23rd Sept) that twenty two years ago (thanks 'old duffer' below for putting me right on the number of years ), Phantom XV428 from 228 OCU crashed at Abingdon whilst practicing its routine for the annual BofB airshow.. unfortunetly killing its crew F/L Lackman & F/L Thompson.

Just shows how time flies by fast these days.

Last edited by Neil Porter; 27th Sep 2010 at 18:03.
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Old 25th Sep 2010, 05:15
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Or Even ...........

........... 22 years ago!
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Old 25th Sep 2010, 08:41
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Thanks for the reminder.

RIP chaps
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Old 25th Sep 2010, 09:54
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I saw Chris Lackman and Jack Thompson display the week before at Finningley. I also recall (in light of the Abingdon incident) an article appearing in some journal somewhere by someone claiming that the display at Finningley was flown dangerously low resulting in a fierce reply from the Finningley Station Commander, Group Captain Pitchfork, who made it clear the aircraft never breached minimums throughout the sequence. A figure of 300' as the minimum (flown on this occasion) during the display, was given. I also remember reading in air clues a couple of years prior, that the actual minimum separation distance for display flying by such aircraft was, at the time, actually 250' Did the enquiry exonerate the crew, I seem to recall it did?

FB
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Old 25th Sep 2010, 19:46
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I was under the car in the motor club at the time. I'd popped out to watch the Dutch F-16 practicing before the Phantom.

Back under the car, and I heard a boom - look out thinking the Dutch idiots gone supersonic, only to see the fireball .... only found out it was the Phantom later.

If you ever saw the accident report, there was a picture of the impact point on the grass - almost a perfect imprint, apart from fwd of the intakes, where I guess he'd got the nose up.

A real tragedy.
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Old 26th Sep 2010, 09:12
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Interestingly there's a similar thread on Fighter Control...

FighterControl • Home to the Military Aviation Enthusiast • View topic - LOW LOW F4
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Old 26th Sep 2010, 15:43
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Yes but there's a big difference between a low flypast and bottoming out during a vertical display sequence. The picture in the link is a fly by.
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Old 26th Sep 2010, 15:52
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Remember watching their display practice at Chiv and after yet another rolling manoeuvre starting with the nose well below the horizon the staff junta's verdict was “Chuffin' gamey, that. Going to end in tears.” Not pleasant being proved right.

Last edited by Ali Qadoo; 26th Sep 2010 at 16:32. Reason: Typo
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Old 26th Sep 2010, 15:59
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As Geehovah has said: RIP chaps, it was nothing to do with any rolling manoeuver, they failed to get round the bottom of a loop.

I'd left the F4 when the accident happened but knew Chris well and had met Jack a few times. Any further comment is best left to the official report, here:

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/B51B5...8_23sept88.pdf

Last edited by wiggy; 27th Sep 2010 at 18:56.
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Old 26th Sep 2010, 17:53
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I was reading a friend's tabloid paper the next day. It had a picture of the 'crashing aircraft' in it's last few seconds. It was nose high, at about 300 feet, a side on shot. Only trouble was, it was an F.16...............Sad loss.
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Old 26th Sep 2010, 18:50
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I remember vividly watching the crash. I was in one of the UASs based there and a group of us were watching the practices. As the F-4 started its practice, there were some ribald comments about how they were going to have trouble matching the F-16 that had been on just before - followed by some banter as the jet appeared to 'push' at the top of the loop to gain height... all silenced immediately when the jet flew into the ground, the fireball silent until the crump of the impact reached us at our distance.

I learnt something about flying that day - I never knew the guys concerned and won't speculate what was going on - but we were reminded that this isn't just a game.

Later, the (engineer) stn cdr decided (too late) to close the bar - as young students, we felt a certain kudos showing Tomcat crews, still in their flying suits around the fleshpots of Oxford....
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 08:26
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I was a boarder at Abingdon School at the time and saw this accident from my dormitory window. It was very evident from the ground that the aircraft wasn't going to complete the manoeuvre, and I remember just feeling disbelief that two parachutes didn't appear after the plane disappeared from my view. Awful day. RIP chaps.
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 15:35
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I was there on the day, alongside the runway carrying out a FOD sweep and checking barriers for the following day. I recall looking up whilst the aircraft was at the top of the loop, then hearing the exceedingly loud engines and impact not far from my work party....the heat from the flash felt from a not too far away and the bits of wreckage bouncing around. An awful memory and such a waste of two lives. Then the interviews in the station gym to give witness testomonies and contact details for further interviews. In dire need of a drink but the bar closed and we were gated. Luckily, I knew the pub was just over the crash gate near Officers MQs so nipped off for a swift brandy!

RIP gents!
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Old 27th Sep 2010, 18:14
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There seemed to be a few incidents that day... the S3 Viking running of the end of the main runway ending up on barrow road, and i seem to recollect a Hunter dipping its wing alarmingly low before overshooting from the opposite direction(?) - i guess with that because of the gusty wind.

My mother knows F/L Lackmans wife still, and we know his son.

I have thought about asking the now Dalton barracks (don't confuse with Abingdon airfield!!) to see if we can install some kind of small plaque or something as a memorial.. We can incorporate this if it seems fit to do so around our annual Airshow weekend in May.. thought it maybe a nice touch as a mark of respect. Or even a Phantom tail fin (if one can be located) with a plaque on.. whats peoples views.
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Old 30th Sep 2010, 22:20
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Funnily enough I was driving past Abingdon last Thursday (23rd) on my way into Oxford and was thinking about the F4 crash without knowing it was 22 years to the day since it happened.

Did it actually crash on the airfield?

RIP guys
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Old 30th Sep 2010, 22:42
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I too watched the F-4 practice at Finningley the week before and was worried by what I saw during a loop. The pilot definitely appeared to push the nose up whilst inverted, without gaining height, or perhaps even descending a little. As the aircraft bottomed out, pulling a lot of G, it began wing rocking. I never flew the type but did know that this was a pre-emptor of the type departing from controlled flight.

I was very sad to hear the outcome of the BOI.
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 05:21
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Crash Site

NickB,

Yes it did crash on the airfield, leaving a recognisable 'footprint' at the point of impact.

O-D
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 08:24
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If you look at 51°41’33.78”N 001°18’39.76”W on Google Earth, the mark is still there...

I saw the display elsewhere and also thought it looked...rather 'gamey'.
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 11:23
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Thanks 'Beags'.

Rather a depressing legacy.
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 11:50
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Display authorisation

Excuse a potentially stupid question from a civvy PPL here.

Wouldn't the display sequence have had to be seen an authorised by a senior officer, before any public shows? Have we any 1980's display members atound who could confirm this?

thanks
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