The Hunter’s Tail

‹ Return to Aviation History

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.”

31 comments on “The Hunter’s Tail
  1. Tech Owl says:

    Good use of selective colour Ian – nice shots

  2. martin.jordan says:

    Nice technique indeed, esp. the bits in the puddles make the shot.

  3. stopherjones says:

    Agree, great use of selective colour and reflection, makes for a really striking image. The strong blacks also help portray the sadness to the story

  4. cgullz says:

    cute colours.
    sad story.
    lovely selective.
    super work 🙂

  5. bill_fawcett says:

    Some great post processing Ian and an interesting story. Possibly the trainee pilot ejecting and the change in drag and COG enabled the instructor to safely land the aircraft?

  6. amyrey says:

    Oh, that is a sad story. Did you hear about the Red Arrows pilot killed in the past week?

  7. nondesigner59 says:

    Fantastic editing.

  8. jr55 (John Richardson) says:

    Nice processing Ian, in particular, I really like the reflections, well spotted.

  9. andyholmfirth says:

    Love the treatment on this.Bloody awful story to go with it !

  10. SolarScot. says:

    very poignant against the story this week, the top pic reminds of the Mods ,showing my age again !

  11. Ian D B says:

    Thanks everyone.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/11563376@N03] [http://www.flickr.com/photos/15421769@N05]
    Yeah, very sad. He was Flt Lt Sean Cunningham, 34 years old and from Johannesberg.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/55833562@N00]

    What a dreadful irony for the survivor to have to live with if that were the case…

  12. Keartona says:

    I was thinking the same as above regarding the accident this week.

    Clever idea to have the puddles included in the colour selection.

  13. het broertje van.. says:

    Love what you did here Ian!!!

    Janwillem

  14. Neal. says:

    Sad story but still think it’s a beaut of a plane.

  15. crusader752 says:

    Love this Ian ..striking image and processing! 🙂

  16. Kingsdude/Dave says:

    Very nice processing Ian and a very unusual and incredibly sad story too

  17. pasujoba says:

    Thats an amazing tale Ian , and apt for this week with the accident at Scampton .
    I like how the reflections are in those puddles . Excellent work .

  18. Hotpix [LRPS] Hanx for 1.5M Views says:

    Lovely cut-out Ian. I like that!
    Have a super weekend my friend! 😎

    Seen in my contacts photostream……

    Tone
    Hotpix http://www.hotpix.org.uk

    Billy & Suzy

    Walk a year in my shoes, see whats up my street or see my world in selective Colour.

  19. IANLAYZELLUK says:

    Cool. Love those colours against the grey. Interesting information too. Thanks for your latest comments.

  20. Billy Currie says:

    great treatment, really shows up those refections, very nice

  21. Stezzer says:

    A beautiful shot and treatment. How incredibly tragic 🙁

  22. mick cooke says:

    nicely done ian

  23. shaire productions says:

    awesome selective coloring

  24. Ray~Watson says:

    Fab shot!!!

  25. NickJ 1972 says:

    Nice processing!

  26. JezFelwick says:

    Great photo, would love a hi res version to print if possible, but corrections and more info to ‘tale’. Dennis Yeardley D.F.C, my grandfather, was a QFI from Chivenor John Hardacre 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.

    • Guy Hardaker says:

      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.

      • Ian D B says:

        Thanks for commenting Guy, and for the correction; I will amend the record and copy your comment into the main text.

        Ian

    • Paul Lees Kind says:

      Hi Jez Dennis Yeardley was my uncle & I remember him telling me the account of the incident of the inverted spin & how he managed to land the aircraft. I was about 10 years old at the time.
      Regards Paul Kind

      • RachelFelwick says:

        Hi Paul
        We’re trying to make connections with Dennis’s family – I am the daughter-in-law of his daughter (your cousin).Would be great to connect somehow..

  27. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/59581751@N04]
    Thanks for that, I have added it to the main description. Happy to send you a higher res copy of this photo; please send me your e-mail address vua Flickr mail and I will get it to you.
    Ian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*