Video Shows Spitfire Crashing While Taking Off During Airshow In Northeastern France

Jun 12 2017 - 3 Comments
By Tom Demerly

Spitfire Ground Rolls on Takeoff.

Spitfire XIX PS890 was involved in a serious accident at the L’aérodrome de Longuyon – Villette in northeastern France on Sunday, June 11. According to reports from witnesses on the scene, pilot Cédric Ruet escaped the frightening accident without serious injuries. Additional reports suggest flying debris from the accident may have injured one member of the crowd.

In videos taken at the crash scene the pilot, Ruet, appears to be approaching V2 take-off velocity when the Spitfire pitches into a nose-down attitude, its propeller impacted the ground the aircraft performing an end-over. While no official news has been released about the factors contributing to the accident the grass field surface and potentially an irregularity in the field may have contributed to accident.

According to Touchdown Aviation, Spitfire XIX PS890 was delivered to RAF Benson in 1945. The aircraft then went to the Royal Thai Air Force as aircraft number U14-26/97 and flew there until 1952 for Thailand. In 1962 the aircraft was donated to Ed Maloney by the King of Siam (Thailand) and transported to Claremont, California in the U.S. Private owner Steve Hilton acquired PS890 and restored her to flying condition then.

Remarkably, the aircraft was retrofitted with an Avro Shackleton engine including its contra-rotating propellers in an attempt to beat the piston engine time-to-climb record. The aircraft flew again in 2002 as part of the California-based Planes of Fame collection.

Christophe Jacquard of France purchased the aircraft in 2005 and restored its engine and propeller to the original configuration. She was most recently painted in the RAF 152 Squadron livery as flown in Thailand prior to yesteday’s accident.

 

Salva

  • leroy

    Why Why Why risk a beautiful masterpiece like this by taking it onto a grass field? Thankfully the pilot was uninjured and it looks like the plane can be repaired – albeit at great expense.

  • Thinker-1

    Looks to me like he pulled too much power too quickly for his speed. Note at around 4 seconds, it looks like his right wheel locked up, then the pitch forward. Tail control surfaces appear to function. Brake or hub failure?

  • Holztransistor

    I love these old planes and it hurts if one gets damaged or destroyed. I’m glad the pilot was not injured.