Loss of control Accident Stampe SV-4C G-AWEF, Sunday 9 May 2021
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Date:Sunday 9 May 2021
Time:16:25 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic SV4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Stampe SV-4C
Registration: G-AWEF
MSN: 549
Year of manufacture:1947
Engine model:De Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Mk.2
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:1 nm North of Maidstone-Lashenden (Headcorn) Airfield, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Maidstone-Lashenden (Headcorn) Airfield (EGKH)
Destination airport:Maidstone-Lashenden (Headcorn) Airfield (EGKH)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Stampe SV-4C biplane of the Stampe Formation Flying Team crashed during formation practice at Headcorn Aerodrome, Kent, U.K., killing the pilot.
The aircraft was taking part in a formation display practice with three other similar aircraft. Whilst practicing a new manoeuvre involving a synchronised line abreast stall turn, G-AWEF was seen to enter a spin. The aircraft did not fully recover from the spin before striking the ground fatally injuring the pilot.

=AAIB Conclusion=
Prior to the accident the aircraft was in a well maintained and airworthy condition. All the damage to the aircraft was attributable to the impact and no evidence was found of a pre‑existing fault or malfunction that could have led to the spin or prevented recovery from it.
Flight tests demonstrated that the most likely reason that the aircraft entered a spin was that either the pilot applied too much aft stick before the completion of the yawing turn or that the rudder was not centralised when the pull-out was commenced. The investigation suggested several reasons why this may have occurred including the low height at which the manoeuvre took place, the challenge of co-ordinating the manoeuvre in formation, distraction, and the low control forces.
The flight tests showed that it might have been possible to recover the aircraft if the pilot had reacted immediately to the early signs of an incipient spin. However, this may have been challenging for a pilot who might not have practiced spin recognition and recovery for 16 years. Once the spin had developed it was unlikely there was sufficient altitude to
recover to level flight.
The display flying regulations require pilots who are upgrading their DA to engage with a DAE early in the process, to obtain guidance and mentoring. Had this happened in this case it may have provided an opportunity for the DAE to suggest the pilot undertook some spin training and practiced the synchronised stall turn manoeuvre at a height from which recovery was achievable. A DAE might also have suggested changing or modifying the manoeuvre to increase safety.

=Damage sustained to airframe=
Per the above AAIB Report, "aircraft destroyed". The CAA agreed with this, and the airframe was de-registered (and the registration G-AWEF cancelled) on 28.10.2021 as "destroyed" with the registered owner "deceased"

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Report number: AAIB-27283
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 8 months
Download report: Final report


1. AAIB Final Report 20.1.2022: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/61e935468fa8f50594b59402/Stampe_SV4C_G_G-AWEF_02-22.pdf
2. https://www.kentlive.news/news/kent-news/headcorn-aircraft-crash-pictures-show-5394511
3. https://twitter.com/ClaireStarr_/status/1391397926161821701
4. https://stampe-formation-team.co.uk/stampe-pilots.php
5. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/light-aircraft-accident-near-headcorn-airfield-in-kent-09-may-2021
6. https://www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/incidents/?entryid2=26417
7. https://metro.co.uk/2021/05/10/kent-plane-crash-stunt-pilot-killed-after-hitting-field-near-headcorn-14550229/
8. https://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2021-05-10/pilot-killed-in-light-aircraft-crash-at-kent-aerodrome
9. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-57032879
10. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9561467/Retired-easyJet-pilot-killed-stunt-crash-horror-stall-turn-trick.html
11. https://www.facebook.com/117251901715341/photos/a.601045353335991/3900338716739955/?type=3&theater
12. https://metro.co.uk/2021/05/10/kent-plane-crash-stunt-pilot-killed-after-hitting-field-near-headcorn-14550229/#&gid=1&pid=2


Photo: AAIB


Revision history:

09-May-2021 18:18 gerard57 Added
09-May-2021 19:12 Anon. Updated [Aircraft type]
09-May-2021 19:17 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Destination airport, Source]
09-May-2021 19:54 harro Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source]
09-May-2021 19:56 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Source]
09-May-2021 19:58 harro Updated [Source, Narrative]
09-May-2021 20:03 harro Updated [Narrative]
10-May-2021 08:30 pilot Updated [Narrative]
10-May-2021 10:13 Anon. Updated [Phase]
10-May-2021 13:14 Dr. John Smith Updated [Registration, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
10-May-2021 13:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
10-May-2021 13:20 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport]
10-May-2021 14:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Embed code]
10-May-2021 15:02 Andy B Updated [Registration, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
10-May-2021 19:51 Captain Adam Updated [Narrative]
27-Jul-2021 14:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Narrative, Category]
20-Jan-2022 16:42 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
20-Jan-2022 18:45 harro Updated [Nature, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report, Photo]

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