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  1. #1
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    Default Air crash history- Devils Peak

    While air crashes are still fresh in the mind perhaps somebody can offer some info (not Jean please)
    When I was a laaitie there was an air crash on Devils Peak (CT) when three air force planes crashed. I remember seeing photos in a newspaper of the location somewhere between the blockhouse and Rhodes Memorial. I was in primary school.

    I've always been fascinated by this event but have eve been able to get more than tiny snippets of the same regurgitated info on the net. Even my contact at Ysterplaat couldn't get hold of any info.

    Anybody know anything or know where I can access photo archives?

    The basic story is they were flying a demo over Wingfield and were going to swing right before the mountain but miscalculated in the misty conditions and wacked the mountain. Two straight in and one higher up after a failed attempt to get altitude

    I hike the mountain a lot and am interested getting bearings from photos to figure out point of impact etc.
    Back then security was quite an issue and the mountain was cleared of every trace of the crash. When public were allowed to hike there again it was like it never happened. Hence the lingering interest in it I suppose.
    Last edited by Spike; 2011/08/17 at 12:39 PM.
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    Johan van Niekerk. I can't spell and my grammar sucks, so deal with it!
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    Spike I remember it well. I think they were practicing for a Republic day festival fly past. The planes were called Mercurius IIRC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Spike I remember it well. I think they were practicing for a Republic day festival fly past. The planes were called Mercurius IIRC.

    100% correct, i also remember that day , it was almost unbelievable, there was thick mist at the time.
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    I can also recall this. Were they not part of the Silver Falcons?
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    It took place in '71, as Andre said practicing for 10 year Republic festival.

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    Rico pm'd me this link which had two useful photos
    http://www.saairforce.co.za/forum/vi...php?f=2&t=1000

    I know the date, the flightpath and the general altitude- level with plumpudding hill. From photos I want to work out where on that elevation.
    The photos on that site mentioned above help a lot. I reckon that must have been the third plane that impacted higher.
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    Some more info.
    http://www.avcom.co.za/phpBB3/viewto...=80601&start=0

    On 26 May 1971, three South African Air Force Hawker-Siddelley HS125 (Code named Mercurius) aircraft crashed into Devil's Peak, killing all 11 on board. The aircraft were flying in close formation, practicing for a fly past during the upcoming 10th anniversary Republic Day celebrations on 31 May. A low cloud base was cited as a contributory factor. The impact was heard throughout the surrounding suburbs and scars in the ground can still be seen today

    On 26 May 1971 a formation of three military aircraft, flying by sight along the N2 highway, banked to the right three seconds to late, narrowly missed the University and Rhodes Memorial and ploughed into the side of the mountain. For many years a radar reflector beacon stood on Plumpudding Hill above Rhodes Memorial to prevent similar incidents.

    Most comprehensive coverage of that tragic day is in the book Fields of Air However while there is a map of sorts and photos I don't recall seeing the actual co-ordinates.

    There were actually 4 aircraft, the forth one missed it.
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    Hi Spike,

    I was actually on the field at SACS doing a cadets practice for Republic Day when the jets flew into the mountain - we all heard the bang. There is a monument on Devils Peak at the exact spot where they hit - it looks a bit like a miniature Taal Monument and is clearly visible from, eg, Rondebosch Common or the Liesbeeck River Two Rivers Urban Park (and from my lounge and kitchen windows).

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    This was before my time, but from what I've been told...
    As far as I know Devil's Peak has claimed two Impalas. They may have been the former Silver Falcons mentioned above.
    Also in my ground school, my lecturer told us about two Citations that crashed into the mountain during a parade or something along those lines.
    Not sure if that was Devil's Peak or Table Mountain. I'll ask around. Plenty of ex-SAAF giants here that should know.

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    Estian that just the story being confused over the passage of time. One crash. Three aircraft. Mercurious
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    Just spoke to my father and he remembers it as well, strange he mentioned.... 3 planes, mountain... bang bang bang.... gone.
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    Hi Spike, I know I am OT here so delete if you want to, or new fred.

    My dad once told me of to Impalas that have crashed in Riemvasmaak. Both pilots lost there lives.

    But what is interesting for me is (and it refers to your post, and the accident of the past weekend) How can it be that 2 pilots (3 in your query) both not see the mountain? Or not looking at there instruments? Do the front man take the lead and the rest just watch his tail.

    Perhaps some of the pilots on the forum can help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frans Reichert View Post
    But what is interesting for me is (and it refers to your post, and the accident of the past weekend) How can it be that 2 pilots (3 in your query) both not see the mountain? Or not looking at there instruments? Do the front man take the lead and the rest just watch his tail.

    Perhaps some of the pilots on the forum can help.

    Frans,

    1 When flying in fog, there is no instrument to tell you of obstacles in your path. Planes are NOT normally fitted with forward looking radar. Your "instruments" in the plane are there to help you:
    • Orientate the plane (i.e. keep it level when the vertigo attacks you. (and that is quick, tests have shown that even experienced pilots will enter a spiral dive in less than 2 minutes after entering a cloud if they their instruments are covereed up).
    • Check your altitude (the purpose to ensure that you remain HIGHER than the highest point in your area).
    In the instances we're talking about, the people were lower than the highest point. In one instance they (seem) to be relying on exact timing to avoid the mountain (which failed), in the Tzaneen case, it could either have been an altimeter error (these instruments rely on air pressure, and a sudden change in pressure can cause you to be out by a lot of height). Alternatively, they thought their routing was wide of the mountain when it was not.
    2 When flying in formation you are so close together that there is no time to react for the "other" planes in the formation when the first one hits the mountain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by C Africa View Post
    Frans,

    1 When flying in fog, there is no instrument to tell you of obstacles in your path. Planes are NOT normally fitted with forward looking radar. Your "instruments" in the plane are there to help you:
    • Orientate the plane (i.e. keep it level when the vertigo attacks you. (and that is quick, tests have shown that even experienced pilots will enter a spiral dive in less than 2 minutes after entering a cloud if they their instruments are covereed up).
    • Check your altitude (the purpose to ensure that you remain HIGHER than the highest point in your area).
    In the instances we're talking about, the people were lower than the highest point. In one instance they (seem) to be relying on exact timing to avoid the mountain (which failed), in the Tzaneen case, it could either have been an altimeter error (these instruments rely on air pressure, and a sudden change in pressure can cause you to be out by a lot of height). Alternatively, they thought their routing was wide of the mountain when it was not.
    2 When flying in formation you are so close together that there is no time to react for the "other" planes in the formation when the first one hits the mountain.

    C
    C Africa.

    Why is it not protocol to fly much higher in poor visibility. IE, visibility goed down, increase altitude with 1km.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uys View Post
    C Africa.

    Why is it not protocol to fly much higher in poor visibility. IE, visibility goed down, increase altitude with 1km.

    Uys
    That is what you should do! People take chances (won't happen to me) Two of my good mates flew into a mountain close to Tzaneen in a Impala. Think it was 1989. We were flying there everyday and knew the area well. They were flying low level with low cloud in a mountainous area - not a good combination. They should not have been out doing low level flying in that weather.

    A lot of private pilots are not instrument rated and therefore can't fly in clouds. A person would fly somewhere for the weekend in their plane, they don't have a instrument rating, on Sunday the weather is bad and he has to work on Monday. Now the pressure is on to fly home. They fly back trying to stay below the clouds. Most of them make it - some don't.
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    One plane one brain one altimeter one compas one map.....
    How is it now possible to fly into a moutain !!
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    The reality was that the centre aircraft, flown by a very senior officer, misjudged his flight path. In formation flying the wingman focus on the lead aeroplane. The weather played a major part in the disorientation of the pilots.
    The fact that all the flight crew partied very hard the previous night may have had a very high impact on what happened.
    Unfortunately it was all due to pilot error, no aircraft or instumentation faults.

    I was helping my dad that day and saw the aircraft a few minutes before they crashed. Serving in the SAAF I saw the reports of what transpired that day. A very sad day it was indeed,
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    Spike, I know this has been pretty much resolved, but have you tried contacting Jim McLagan who took some of the pictures?
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    Default Re: Air crash history- Devils Peak

    I found this thread by pure chance.

    Was watching Airplane Repo last night, and they were busy repossessing a Hawker 600. Looking the plane up on Wikipedia I found details of this crash, and while Googling the crash found this thread. Small world

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