Invicta International Airlines Flight 435
Invicta International Airlines Vickers 952 Vanguard G-AXOP, the one involved in the crash.
|Date||10 April 1973|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain|
|Site||300 m south of the Herrenmatt hamlet, Hochwald, Switzerland|
|Aircraft type||Vickers Vanguard|
|Operator||Invicta International Airlines|
|Flight origin||Bristol Lulsgate Airport|
On 10 April 1973 Invicta International Airways Flight 435 was a Vickers Vanguard 952, flying from Bristol Lulsgate to Basel-Mulhouse that ploughed into a snowy, forested hillside near Hochwald, Switzerland. It somersaulted and broke up, killing 108 with 37 survivors. To date, this accident is the deadliest accident involving a Vickers Vanguard and the deadliest aviation accident to occur on Swiss soil. Many of the 139 passengers on the charter flight were women—members of the Axbridge Ladies Guild—from the Somerset, England villages of Axbridge, Cheddar, Winscombe and Congresbury. The accident left 55 children motherless.
Pilot Anthony Dorman became disoriented, misidentifying two radio beacons and missing another. When co-pilot Ivor Terry took over, his final approach was based on the wrong beacon and the aircraft crashed into the hillside. Dorman had previously been suspended from the Royal Canadian Air Force for lack of ability, and had failed his United Kingdom instrument flying rating eight times. As a result of the crash tougher regulations were introduced in the UK.
Despite the conclusions of the official Swiss report, one commentator, ex-KLM pilot Jan Bartelski, has argued that the pilots may not have been entirely to blame and there is a possibility that they were led off course by "ghost" beacon transmissions caused by electric power lines.
- "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers 952 Vanguard G-AXOP Basel/Mulhouse Airport (BSL)". Aviation Safety Network (ASN). Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- Faith, Nicholas (1996). Black Box. Boxtree. p. 166. ISBN 0-7522-1084-X.
- "Fatal fatigue". Time. 23 April 1973.
- Hansard 11 April 1973
- "Report No: 11/1975. Vickers Vanguard 952, G-AXOP. Report on the accident at Hochwald/Solothurn, Switzerland, on 10 April 1973". Air Accidents Investigation Branch. 1975.
- Forman, Patrick (1990). Flying into danger: the hidden facts about air safety. Heinemann. pp. 5, 111. ISBN 978-0-434-26864-1.
- Bartelski, Jan (2001) Disasters in the Air. Airlife Publishing Ltd. pp 208–229 ISBN 1-84037-204-4
- Final report (Archive) – Swiss Federal Department of Transport and Power – Translated by the Department of Trade Accidents Investigation Branch. 30 May 1975.
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