Incident Percival Provost T52 RRAF310, 12 Oct 1966
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 145217
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Type:Percival Provost T52
Owner/operator:Royal Rhodesian Air Force
Registration: RRAF310
MSN: PAC/56/370
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Lalapanzi, Midlands -   Zimbabwe
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Umvuma, Rhodesia
Destination airport:Thornhill, Rhodesia
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
I was on the last leg of the No. 4 Squadron 19 OCU final low-level cross-country from Umvuma to Thornhill. I had just passed Lalapanzi at about 200ft when the engine started to falter. I decided that it was time to go for height and as I eased the throttle open the engine quit completely.

Ahead of me was trees but I had just passed over a small vlei, so I attempted a starboard turn through 270 degrees to position myself for a landing into wind. During the turn I hurriedly tightened my straps and pushed out a short Mayday call. It was short because I lost the VHF aerial as I clipped a tree on the edge of the vlei during my approach. I did not have enough height to complete the turn to land down the vlei so I was committed to landing diagonally across it.

As soon as I hit the ground I applied maximum braking as I could see the tree line on the far side coming up fast. I attempted to ground loop but as the tail was up due to the heavy breaking, nothing happened and I careered into the trees which brought the aircraft to an almost instant stop. It took me a second or two to gather my wits. I checked that everything was switched off, unstrapped, and tried to get out as quickly as I could in case of fire.

I attempted to wind back the canopy, but it wouldn’t move. Then I tried to jettison the canopy - again nothing happened. I opened the port cockpit emergency break-out panel but my escape route was blocked by a tree trunk. I then opened the starboard break-out panel and dived out only to be stopped halfway out by my parachute which was still strapped to my bum and was too big to go through the window. I had to climb back into the cockpit, undo the parachute and dive out the window again. I ended up in a crumpled heap on the ground. I picked myself up and beat feet for a few hundred yards across the vlei, where I stopped to see what was going to happen next.

After a few minutes a Vampire appeared overhead. Thornhill tower had picked up my short Mayday message and sent out a search aircraft.

(C/no. PAC/P56/370. Ordered for RAF as XF873 5 for delivery in September 1955. No delivered, diverted off contract to Rhodesia. Delivered to Royal Rhodesian Air Force 5 Dec 1955. Initially as RRAF147 later RRAF310).


Revision history:

21-Apr-2012 18:29 Dr. John Smith Added
13-Apr-2022 16:34 Ron Averes Updated [Location, Narrative]

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