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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 216239
Last updated: 21 February 2021
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Time:13:19 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic DUOD model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Schempp-Hirth Duo Discus T
Registration: BGA.4792
C/n / msn: 5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:English Channel, Beachy Head Cliffs, East Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Parham Airfield, Storrington, West Sussex
Destination airport:
A glider crashed into the English Channel near the East Sussex landmark. Earlier that afternoon, the Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public on top of the cliffs reporting a sighting of an aircraft going into the water but without an accurate location.

At the same time, a light aircraft pilot flying for Oscar Romeo Aviation Ltd in the Beachy Head area, reported an accurate position to the Coastguard. The pilot had spotted a glider flying low and witnessed the crash landing in the sea, said the Coastguard.

Having returned and circled around the glider’s debris in the water, the pilot was able to relay accurate information to HM Coastguard which resulted in a speedy response from the Lydd helicopter, RNLI Eastbourne and Newhaven Lifeboats.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said, “The Coastguard rescue helicopter winched the two people from the base of the cliffs and they were recovered safely to the top of Beachy Head. Both occupants survived the crash and were rescued by HMCG SAR helicopter. According to the following eyewitness report, posted on the "Flyer" forum (see link #5)

"I was on a Saturday bimble around Beachy Head when one of my passengers noticed a glider flying very low over the cliffs. As it didn’t look right we kept an eye on it and witnessed it ditch off the lighthouse.

I then called Farnborough, and then D&D on 121.5, and offered to orbit overhead relaying position and the situation regarding the occupants of the glider. Stayed on station until fuel levels required me to return to Redhill. Thankfully the pilot of the glider and his passenger were rescued safely"

UPDATE; The BGA (British Gliding Association) published its final report into the accident on 1 April 2019 (see link #8) and the following is the conclusion from that report:

The investigators’ conclusion is that the accident was non-technical in nature and primarily the result of 'Human Error', as discussed. What is commonly described as “peer pressure” may also have been a factor, as the commander believed that he had made his reticence to conduct the flight obvious and overt. However, his discomfort does not appear to have been obvious to those around him so it cannot be established with any certainty that it was truly a factor.

Nevertheless, the fact that the commander had (or was given) little time to prepare himself either mentally or physically for the flight would without doubt have been performance-diminishing from a 'threat and error management' perspective. It is also possible that factors less obvious and more systemic in nature (e.g. safety culture and supervision) played a part on the day and contributed to the accident.

Additionally, although not medically qualified, the investigators felt that the aircraft commander was suffering and showed signs of the symptoms of significant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of this incident. As a result of this observation a recommendation has been made to the British Gliding Association that it considers reviewing post-accident action guidance, to take into account the longer term impacts of a traumer upon an individual".


8. BGA Final Report:



Beachy Head, from cliff top. 13.10.18

Beachy Head, from cliff top. 13.10.18

Beachy Head, from cliff top. 13.10.18

Revision history:

13-Oct-2018 16:05 gerard57 Added
13-Oct-2018 16:07 gerard57 Updated [Total occupants, Narrative]
13-Oct-2018 16:09 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities]
13-Oct-2018 16:13 Iceman 29 Updated [Aircraft type, Source, Narrative]
13-Oct-2018 16:40 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
13-Oct-2018 16:44 Aerossurance Updated [Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
16-Oct-2018 10:24 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
16-Oct-2018 10:40 Iceman 29 Updated [Source]
24-Oct-2018 09:12 Anon. Updated [Aircraft type]
29-Oct-2018 21:13 Anon. Updated [Photo]
29-Oct-2018 21:13 Anon. Updated [Photo]
29-Oct-2018 21:14 Anon. Updated [Photo]
17-Mar-2019 22:26 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
28-Sep-2020 23:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Registration, Cn, Location, Source, Narrative]

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