BAE Hawk XX193

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BAE Hawk XX193

Both crew members of Hawk XX193, Squadron Leader Micheal Andrews (38) and
Flight Lieutenant Stephen Todd (28) were killed when their jet crashed at the village of Shap in Cumbria, October 22 1999.

The original photos of the crew are from the Northern Echo.

www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/

________________________________________________________________________

Hawk XX193 was taking part in a combat exercise, feigning low level attacks on a formation of three other Hawks from RAF Leeming.

After the second ‘attack’ over Sedburgh, 16 miles to the south east of Shap, the formation turned roughly north west, following the line of the M6 Motorway. Some 5 miles from Shap, the defending formation turned west towards the Lake District. Following them, XX193 also made the turn, but was too low and hit some trees before crashing to the ground at the northern end of the village.

An eyewitness called Clive told us that the jet clipped the chimney pots of his house, veered to the right and crashed into the bridge carrying the A6 over the main London – Scotland railway line, demolishing a barn. Clive said that the entire bridge was on fire.

There was just one civilian casualty, a Mr Colin Murray aged 38 who was driving his van across the bridge. He was lucky to escape shocked but uninjured. He told the BBC “As I went over the railway bridge, the windscreen of the van exploded, showering me in debris, bricks, rubble, dust, debris of all descriptions… I shielded my face with my arms as best I could and the van eventually came to a halt.”

Photo of Mr Murray’s van from the BBC
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/483193.stma
_483312_van300

The Ministry of Defence report states that the Hawk entered a gentle descending roll to the left, which makes sense if the formation it was shadowing was heading west. However travelling northwards a left roll would have taken the Hawk away from the impact point. Possibly the Hawk was turning to follow the formation when it struck the trees and out of control heeled over to the right. The report notes there were no column control inputs during the last 18 seconds of flight.

A house as now been built on the spot where the barn stood and a memorial to the men placed in a wall at the front of the house.

Memorial at the crash site.
DSC_0165csdss

There was very little left of the Hawk, it hit the ground with such force it disintegrated completely. A wallet belonging to Squadron Leader Andrews was found and a fragment of Flight Lieutenant Todd’s credit card was also recovered by the salvage team.

As is usually the case when an aircraft crashes in a populated area without the loss of any persons on the ground, a story emerges whereby the pilot heroically struggled to avoid hitting a school or houses etc. This is a common phenomenon and one generally not replicated when people on the ground are killed. I wasn’t there so I don’t know, but it seems unlikely, the crash would have happened in an instant, and the report concluded there was no sign of the jet being in trouble prior to the crash. Nor does the report refer to the pilot taking such evasive action. But those on the ground seeing the Hawk turning to the left may have reasoned that the jet was avoiding the village.

In November 2002 an inquest heard evidence to suggest that fatigue from over work may well have been a contributory factor, Sqn Ldr Andrews having to work 12 hour shifts. As a result of the crash, ground proximity warnings and voice recordings were to be fitted to Hawks, though the inquest – which took place 3 years after the crash – heard that still hadn’t happened.

MOD Accident summary pdf
www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/3F043A88-6876-47F7-ACED-A02EAFCDE…

A low flying Hawk of 100 Squadron on Cazflypast’s photostream.
100 Squadron Hawk

14 comments on “BAE Hawk XX193
  1. mick cooke says:

    blinking heck ian that is low, sad story they did well to miss the village thou

  2. pasujoba says:

    Excellent work Ian , some terrific research and the presentation is top drawer. Certainly made a mess of that van , the driver was very lucky to survive .

  3. Tech Owl says:

    These events happen so quickly I always wonder if there are any real witnesses. Great detail as usual and some good detective work.

  4. andyholmfirth says:

    I remember this one.All the sadder really being so recent.

  5. cgullz says:

    wow. incredible story and interesting reading. very sad for the families of the crew, even sadder if it was pure fatigue and the fact that they had no GPWS!! i’m not a military pilot but man these guys fly at some amazing speeds at so low to the ground i’m surprised to find they didn’t have any warning reference system!

  6. amyrey says:

    Tragic. Too young!

    Great research as always Ian.

  7. SolarScot. says:

    what a story! its funny we get jets flying over us most days and i think only once has one crashed in the area but you still cant help feeling ,what if? they complained about them flying over the local school for that reason

  8. Richard Tierney says:

    Super as per Ian…

    Every time I travel up the M6 around this area I look out for RAF low flying jets…. always remember the few that did not go home at the end of the day.. Lucky van driver and the village, could have been a disaster.. Surprised they operated so close to the village though.

  9. Ian D B says:

    As ever, many thanks everyone.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/29551624@N03]
    I was surprised to read that too, and indeed, that by 2002 BAe Hawks still weren’t fitted with ground proximity warnings. The pilot would have had an altimeter but they were intentionally flying low, so really the warning was what was needed. In spite of some witness reports saying the aircraft was obviously in trouble, the report and the inquest seems to conclude both crew were just doing their job, there was no problem until the last instant when the Hawk got a bit too close to the trees.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/11563376@N03]
    Yeah I can imagine the schools complaining. But I suppose the risk of crashing is the reason why they usually train over less densely populated areas.
    Still on for this week btw, though I don’t reckon I’ll be bivying up in them there hills. Shoulda known better than plan a bivi during Wimbledon week!

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/7749921@N04]
    Cheers Richard. As above, I reckon they can’t help but fly over some populated areas, otherwise they’d have a very erratic route at very high speed. Shap is a small place too, as you know. End to end about a mile? Maybe 300 yards across at its widest point? Still, the formation of other Hawks made their turn a few miles south of the village… The outcome of the investigation seems to suggest the crew took their eye off the ball at a critical moment and that was that. One tiny error in two long and promising careers… Whether these guys tried to avoid the village or not, any man or woman who puts on a uniform and is prepared to die in combat or in training for combat is a hero in my book.

  10. f3liney says:

    How weird is that!! I grew up in Shap.
    I remember my mother ringing me up in Norfolk, to pre-warn me that there’d been a fatal jet crash at Shap and it would be on the news, but that no villagers were hurt.
    My best friend’s house only just missed being hit, but there were ‘bits’ in their garden apparently and a window got broken.
    It was interesting to read your comment about supposedly avoiding the houses and school – which was exactly what the RAF PR drone churned out in the local rag afterwards.
    At 400mph, you wouldn’t have even spotted the school (which is nowhere close to their track anyway).
    A tragic loss of this crew.
    It could have been so much worse though, especially if an intercity train had been on the line.

  11. bazylek100 says:

    A sad history. I’m surprised modern military jets still can be not equipped with ground proximity warnings!
    Obviously, such systems shouldn’t be overestimated and they alone will not prevent aircraft crashes, as it was proved in the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash. The pilots ignored all the TAWS warnings, and being annoyed with the continous ‘PULL UP! PULL UP!’ voice message they just switched the system off shortly before losing one third of the left wing while hitting the birch tree. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

  12. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/bazylek]
    I know. That sound sends a shiver down your spine. I wouldn’t need telling twice. I suppose though that pilots (in the case you describe) trusted their own intuition over the systems they had on board.

  13. *Ian says:

    I was the No.4 that went home early after a birdstrike. I was not the bounce only after flipping a coin with Toddy. I will always wonder what would have happpened if I not he was in the aircraft with Mike, but that is simply what I have to do.
    Per Ardua Sans Peur

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