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Hawker Hunter XL 572
Hawker Hunter XL 572 in the colours of XL 571, on display at the Yorkshire Air Museum.
There’s a sad tale involving this cold war era jet fighter.
27 Aug 1959, during a training flight the Hunter entered an inverted spin. Pupil pilot John Hardaker ejected from the aircraft, but was killed. The instructor pilot Dennis Yeardley was unable to bale out but managed to regain control of the aircraft and landed safely.
EDIT April 2013; Comment below by Dennis Yeardley’s grandson;
“Dennis Yeardley D.F.C, my grandfather, was a QFI from Chivenor John Hardacre [N.B please see below spelling correction – Ian D B 15/08/14] a pilot from CFS. JH flew in the left hand seat as Captain for a ‘spinning sortie’ when the incident happened. He gave the order to eject but my grandfather was unable to get his ejector seat to fire. JH ejected but his seat had been incorrectly routed causing his chute not to separate and ultimately to candle. My grandfather would also have died had he ejected as his seat was also incorrectly routed. No responsibility for the accident was allocated to either pilot. Lack of knowledge of Hunter inverted spin and recovery technique in RAF at that time was considered primary cause of accident.”
EDIT August 2014; Comment below by John Hardaker’s son.
“John Hardaker (not Hardacre) was my father. I understand that he had been taught how to recover from an inverted spin by Bill Bedford and as a CFS instructor was passing on that knowledge to QFIs at Chivenor on a regular basis. I hadnt appreciated that the ejection had malfunctioned. The Board of Inquiry’s report is not that informative. I learned from my mother that my father broke his spine in ejecting and would have been paralysed for life had he survived.”