2008 Biggin Hill Cessna Citation crash

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2008 Biggin Hill Cessna Citation crash
Cessna citation ISP-Mojave-070126.jpg
A Cessna 500 Citation, similar to VP-BGE, a model 501.
Accident summary
Date 30 March 2008 (2008-03-30)
Summary Pilot error
Site Farnborough, London, United Kingdom
NGR TQ 438 649
51°21′53″N 0°04′02″E / 51.3646°N 0.0671665°E / 51.3646; 0.0671665Coordinates: 51°21′53″N 0°04′02″E / 51.3646°N 0.0671665°E / 51.3646; 0.0671665
Passengers 3
Crew 2
Injuries (non-fatal) 0
Fatalities 5
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Cessna 501 Citation
Operator Ross Air
Registration VP-BGE
Flight origin Biggin Hill, United Kingdom
Destination Pau, France

On 30 March 2008, a Cessna 501 Citation crashed into a house in Farnborough, London (UK), near Biggin Hill Airport, from where the aircraft had taken off a short time before. There were no survivors among the five people on board, which included former racing drivers Richard Lloyd and David Leslie.


The aircraft involved was a Bermudan-registered Cessna 501 Citation, tail number VP-BGE, construction number 500-0287, built in 1975.[1][2][3] At the time of the accident, the aircraft had completed 5,844 hours total time and 5,352 cycles.[4]

Accident flight[edit]

The Citation took off at 14:32 local time from runway 21 at Biggin Hill airport, with destination Pau Pyrénées Airport in France. Less than two minutes into the flight, the pilot radioed an emergency call, reporting "engine vibrations" and requesting an immediate return to Biggin Hill.[5] The aircraft was given permission to land on any runway, and the pilots indicated that they would attempt to return to the departure runway.[6] However, shortly after the radio call the aircraft rapidly lost altitude and at 14:37 crashed into a property in Romsey Close, Farnborough. There were no survivors from the wreckage, which was consumed by fire, as was the house that the aircraft struck. A neighbouring property was also damaged by fire.[7][8] The house was unoccupied at the time of the impact; the owners, who returned minutes after the accident, were treated for shock. No-one else on the ground was injured.[9]


All five occupants of the aircraft (two crew and three passengers) perished in the accident. There were no physical injuries among residents of the street into which the plane crashed, although two people were later treated for shock.[10]


  • Mike Roberts, 63,[11]
  • Michael Chapman, 57,[12] Chief Flying Instructor and co-founder of the Real Flying Company, Shoreham, Sussex.


A memorial service was held for the victims on 6 April 2008.[12]


An Investigation was conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), assisted by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and by the aircraft and engine manufacturers, Cessna[1] and Pratt & Whitney Canada respectively.[2] The preliminary report from the AAIB revealed that there was no debris found on the runway at Biggin Hill, and no evidence of a bird strike or foreign object damage to either of the engines.[6][18]

The AAIB published its formal report into the accident on 21 May 2010.[4] It concluded that

  • the "engine vibration" reported by the pilots most likely came not from the engines themselves, but from the faulty air cycle machine
  • a missing rivet head on the left fuel cut-off lever could have resulted in the pilots shutting down that engine inadvertently
  • both engines had been shut down, either intentionally or not, during the course of the short flight. The crew had subsequently tried to restart both engines, but had attempted to relight the second engine before the first one had reached sufficient speed, causing the relight of both engines to fail

An inquest into the death of the five victims opened on 31 May 2011 in Bromley, London.[19] Then inquest concluded on 1 June with verdicts of accidental death being returned in all five cases.[20]

Insurance claim[edit]

The aircraft was subject to a subsequent $1 million (£610,000) insurance claim. But as it was owned by Bermuda-based Relton Mews Air Ltd, which in 2009 became linked to the ponzi scheme of London-based Business Consulting International, any funds will be deposited with the British Financial Services Authority.[21]


  1. ^ a b "Ntsb Assisting In Business Jet Accident In England". National Transportation Safety Board. 30 March 2008. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Accident involving a Cessna aircraft (registration VP-BGE) at Farnborough, Kent on 30 March 2008" (PDF). AAIB. Retrieved 1 April 2008. (PDF)
  3. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 4 April 2008.
  4. ^ a b "AAIB Formal Report 3/2010". AAIB. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Nyc08Ra149". Her Majesty's Department of Transport. Archived from the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008. 
  6. ^ a b "AAIB Special Bulletin S2/2008" (PDF). AAIB. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  7. ^ "Two Victims Of Private Jet Crash Named". Sky News. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  8. ^ "Private plane crashes into homes". BBC News. 30 March 2008. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  9. ^ Hendy, Sharon (3 April 2010). "We stopped for groceries and it saved out lives... when a plane fell on our house". London: The Sun. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "Experts probe fatal crash scene". BBC News. 31 March 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  11. ^ "Family of Farnborough plane crash victim Chris Allarton make sad journey to crash site". 2 April 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c "Crash dead remembered at service". BBC News. 6 April 2008. Archived from the original on 8 April 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2008. 
  13. ^ a b Mostrous, Alexi; Yeoman, Fran (31 March 2008). "Five die as jet crashes into Farnborough homes". The Times (UK). Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  14. ^ a b "David Leslie and Richard Lloyd killed in plane accident". Planet Le Mans. 30 March 2008. Archived from the original on 1 April 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  15. ^ "David Leslie". The Cumberland News. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  16. ^ "Family pays tribute to Richard Lloyd". The Advertiser. 5 April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2008. 
  17. ^ "'Chris brought happiness to the lives of everyone'". Buckingham Advertiser. 5 April 2008. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "Co-pilot's final words revealed". BBC News. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "Pilot's final words before jet crashes into Kent house". BBC News. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "Farnborough jet crash deaths were accidental". BBC News. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  21. ^ Steve Boggan and Stephen Wright (25 July 2009). "The pop singer, the Strictly Come Dancing star, the vibrating mystics... why DID so many fall for £85m 'scam'?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 

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