Accident Piper PA-23-250F Aztec G-AZIF, Wednesday 5 January 1972
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Date:Wednesday 5 January 1972
Time:18:24 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA27 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-23-250F Aztec
Owner/operator:Enterprise Hotels Ltd
Registration: G-AZIF
MSN: 27-4633
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Near Great Sampford, 5 miles SE of Saffron Walden, Essex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:London-Gatwick (LGW/EGKK)
Destination airport:Stansted Airport, Essex (STN/EGSS)
Investigating agency: AIB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
Piper PA-23-250F Aztec G-AZIF: Ex-N14019 (US Registry). US Registration cancelled 27 October 1971. First UK registered as G-AZIF 9 November 1971. Written off (destroyed) 5 January 1972 when crashed Near Great Sampford, 5 miles South East of Saffron Walden, Essex, at approximate coordinates 58'58" North, 00'22" East. All three persons on board were killed. According to the AAIB Final report into the incident:

"The aircraft was on a night flight in poor weather from Gatwick to Stansted Airport. At 18:21 hrs when over the Stansted NDB it was cleared to descend to an altitude of 2,500 feet and to change to the tower radio frequency in preparation for an approach to land. The pilot's acknowledgement of this message was the last communication with the aircraft.

Search and rescue procedures were initiated at 19:00 hrs. The aircraft was found the following day at 1100 hrs. It had crashed eight miles northeast of Stansted Airport on ground 300 feet above mean sea level (amsl) at a point below the traffic pattern where it should have been making a level turn at 2,500 feet amsl to intercept the Instrument Landing System (ILS). All three occupants were killed on impact.

It is concluded that the accident was probably the result of a loss of control and that this was likely to have resulted from a flight instrument failure, leading to a steep dive during which the aircraft struck the ground."

The AAIB Final Report lists the three fatalities as Captain J. M. McCracken (pilot), Captain R. F. Jolly and Mr. N. A. DeBruyne (passengers).

Registration G-AZIF was formally cancelled by the CAA on 5 January 1972 as "destroyed"

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AIB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


1. AAIB Final report:
2. AAIB Final Report Appendix:
3. CAA Registration:
4. G-AZIF with previous registration N14019 at Cranfield (EGTC) 3-9-1971:
5. FAA US Registration:

Revision history:

17-May-2008 11:10 ASN archive Added
01-Sep-2012 19:32 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Aug-2015 00:28 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Oct-2020 23:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Narrative, Accident report]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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