Mid-air collision Accident de Havilland DH.115 Vampire T Mk 11 XE990, Thursday 16 January 1958
ASN logo
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:Thursday 16 January 1958
Time:09:08 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic VAMP model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland DH.115 Vampire T Mk 11
Owner/operator:8 FTS RAF
Registration: XE990
MSN: 15577
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Colwick, Nottinghamshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Swinderby, Lincolnshire
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On 16/1/1958 two DH Vampire T.11 of 8 FTS, RAF (XE990 and XH321) collided head on in clear skies at 09:08 at 20,000 feet over Colwick, Nottinghamshire, killing three of the crew instantly. The third was thrown from the aircraft but his chute was damaged and he fell to the ground, being killed on impact.

The pair of Vampire T. Mk.IIs, both from 8 Fighter Training School at Swinderby, had taken off from their home base at 08:59 for Instrument Flying (I.F.) practice. A few minutes later, at 0908, the two aircraft collided almost head-on in a clear sky 20,000 feet above Colwick, Nottingham. Wreckage was strewn in a track 2.5 miles long, a large engine part being found at Radcliffe Road, West Bridgford.

Sadly, the occupants of both aircraft were killed, as was Mrs M E Collis, a canteen worker at the Spray & Burgass dye works at Colwick, who died when she was struck by debris from XH321.

Crew of XE990:
503164 Flight Lieutenant (Instructor) B C KIRKPATRICK Aged 26
113 Lieutenant (Pupil, Royal Iraqi AF) W AL-ANI

Crew of XH321:
501563 Flight Lieutenant (Instructor) J M WILLIAMS Aged 28
2612498 Flying Officer (Pupil) F A OLSON Aged 23

Mrs M E COLLIS Employee, Spray & Burgass Ltd.

The RAF Accident Investigation Board were unable to determine the exact cause of the accident, concluding that neither aircraft saw the other in time to avoid a collision, for a number of reasons (Taken from the Accident Report):

"A. Inadequate look-out. B. High speed of aircraft. C. Attention of instructors and pupils concentrated within cockpit. D. Sun dazzle. E. Aircraft converging on blind sides of each other."

The Board went on to recommend that a study be carried out into closing speeds of jets and that Instructors should elevate their seats on I.F. exercises for better visibility.


1. The Calgary Herald 16 January 1958, p19
2. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.194 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
3. Royal Air Force Aircraft XA100-XZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 2001 p 26)
4. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/397: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C424518
5. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/37/S2907: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C6578687
6. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=XE
7. https://nottstalgia.com/forums/topic/4535-mid-air-collision/?page=2
8. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1958.htm
9. http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/dh115.pdf
10. http://macr.moonfruit.com/dh-vampires-xh321-xe990/4532317348
11. https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/454017-dh-vampire-2.html#post6549400
12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colwick

Revision history:

04-Mar-2013 14:44 Dr. John Smith Added
06-Mar-2013 11:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type]
30-May-2015 06:31 Anon. Updated [Date]
27-Sep-2015 16:33 TB Updated [Time, Operator, Phase, Source, Narrative]
19-Dec-2017 16:31 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Destination airport, Source]
09-Jan-2020 22:36 stehlik49 Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
23-Jan-2020 22:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Phase, Source, Narrative]
23-Jan-2020 22:45 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Nature, Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314