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Thread: Neil Williams last flight

  1. #1
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    Neil Williams last flight

    I understand Neil Williams and his wife were killed whilst ferrying a CASA back from Spain on behalf of Doug Arnold. Were the AAIB involved assuming it was British registered etc and was there an official report?

    Many thanks

  2. #2
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    The investigation was done by the Spanish with an AAIB member appointed to the team. The AAIB file reference is EW/A270 and it was published in the 5/78 bulletin - of which I don't have a copy.

  3. #3
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    I understand they flew into a mountain in bad weather IIRC. Would be interested to know if there were others on board.

  4. #4
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    The pilot had intended flying to Burgos from Madrid Cuatro Vientos via a pass to the NW of Madrid,where the road to Corunna crosses the mountain range. It was near this pass that the wreckage was found. Weather was poor in the area with cloud obscuring the pass itself. The aircraft was heard shortly before it reached the area of the pass to be flying at a low-level.
    The aircraft had collided with the steep southern slope of the mountain range some 200m below the summit. Two mechanics Joseph Donaghy and Stephen Darnell were killed in the crash.
    Taken from the AAIB bulletin to Heinkel 111 G-BFFS on Dec 11th. 1977, 50km NW of Madrid in the Guadarrama Mountains.
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  5. #5
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    See extract from the official report at

    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchi...0-%201021.html

  6. #6
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    The aircraft belonged to Doug Arnold / Warbirds of Great Britain.
    A few years ago I met someone who worked for WOGB at that time and he said that Neil Williams chose the route because he wanted to show his wife the mountain scenery. Unfortunately the weather closed in at what was probably one of the most difficult points in the journey and the rest is history. It was a very sad end for a great pilot and his crew.

  7. #7
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    Neil Williams

    A sad end, indeed, for a talented man.
    He used to write a column in one of the aviation periodicals and in one of his articles he described having some sort of Guardian Angel who looked after him when he flew.
    Once, after having had his angel warn him, and taken avoiding action from, something he could not have seen he decided, one day, to ignore Her calls to alter course.
    He continued, and then, from the gloom, appeared another aircraft, which he narrowly missed. He vowed never to ignore Her again.
    I wonder if his Guardian Angel had deserted him on the Spanish trip - or did he choose to ignore Her again?

    Anon.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anon View Post
    A sad end, indeed, for a talented man.
    He used to write a column in one of the aviation periodicals...

    Anon.
    That was Aviation News when it was in newspaper format - I got loads of them up in the loft, and they still make good reading! I still think no-one could display a Spitfire like Neil could. Late afternoon at Shuttleworth with the sun low down.... that curving display line... Neil Williams imparted style and grace to a display that truly I have seen from no-one else!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamSimons View Post
    That was Aviation News when it was in newspaper format - I got loads of them up in the loft, and they still make good reading! I still think no-one could display a Spitfire like Neil could. Late afternoon at Shuttleworth with the sun low down.... that curving display line... Neil Williams imparted style and grace to a display that truly I have seen from no-one else!
    My Dad has always said the same after witnessing several of his displays at Old Warden in MH434.

    Whilst Ray Hanna has, and will always will be regarded as the 'Master' of the Spitfire display, it would seem that many also thought Neil's displays in them were on a par with Ray's, but quite different.

    Much more relaxed & gentle apparently, showing another side to the Spitfire and it's performance and handling. I understand his displays often included some superb vertical rolls, something you very rarely see in a Spitfire display these days!

    I wonder if anyone has any footage of one of his displays in a Spitfire, because other than him flying a sequence in MH434 for that classic 70's Spitfire documentary, I don't recall ever seeing any other film of him flying a Spitfire!

    Cheers

    Paul
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    Last edited by Bradburger; 5th June 2009 at 21:53.
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