WWI replica British biplane crashes during mock dogfight

Pilot is pulled alive from wreckage of WWI replica British biplane in miracle escape after it crashed during mock dogfight with German aircraft at aerodrome in Northamptonshire

  • Accident happened as vintage planes  took part in ‘mock dogfight’
  • The team involved was said to be part of a Great War display team
  • Team leader Gordon Brander said pilot was in ‘good condition’ and would be fine 
  • The plane involved was a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c, featured in Biggles film
  • Pilot, who has not been named, has been taken for hospital for treatment
  • Police and air investigators will now take statements on the crash 

A pilot of Britain’s first-ever military aeroplane has survived a crash following a mock dogfight between British and German World War aircrafts.

The male flyer, who has not been identified, was inside a replica of the Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c when the accident happened this morning.

It is said to have spun out of control and hurtled nose down into Sywell aerodrome in Northamptonshire.

Incredibly he was found in ‘good condition’ by ambulance crews who rushed to the scene and one pal said he was expected to recover.

The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch this afternoon sent a team to begin looking into what had happened. 

A pilot of Britain’s first-ever military aeroplane has survived a crash following a mock dogfight between British and German World War aircrafts 

The male flyer, who has not been identified, was inside a replica of the Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c when the accident happened this morning

The plane – which was featured in film ‘Biggles Sweeps the Skies’ – was restored by co-owners Matthew Boddington and Steve Slater.

It was part of the The Bremont Great War Display Team and leader Gordon Brander confirmed the pilot was fine.

He told MailOnline: ‘He is actually in good condition. They say that he is going to be fine. We have no idea what happened. 

‘We are just waiting to speak to the police and the air authorities now.

‘The aircraft was a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c. It is a two seater but only one person was in it at the time.’ 

Emergency crews were seen at the site this afternoon dealing with the aftermath of the crash

The aircraft involved in the crash was a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c which is designed for two

Two of the planes before they took off for the display run-through in the skies earlier today

East Midlands Ambulance Service were called to the crash at 11.39am and said they had transferred an injured patient to hospital. 

The Royal Aircraft Factory BE2 

The Royal Aircraft Factory BE2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane designed and developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory.

Most production aircraft were constructed under contract by various private companies, both established aircraft manufacturers and firms that had not previously built aircraft. 3,500 were manufactured in all.

Early versions of the BE2 entered squadron service with the Royal Flying Corps in 1912; the type continued to serve throughout the First World War. It was initially used as a front-line reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber; modified as a single-seater it proved effective as a night fighter, destroying several German airships.

By late 1915, the BE2 was proving inadequate in defending itself against German fighters such as the then-new Fokker Eindecker, leading to increased losses during the period known as the Fokker Scourge. 

Another pilot told MailOnline: ‘The whole airfield has been closed down.

‘There were German biplanes and triplanes bearing the Iron Cross insignia battling it out with their British rivals when the British plane crashed.

‘Some of the planes are replicas, some are originals which have been lovingly restored.’

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: ‘We were called about it at 11.50am and are working with other emergency services at the scene including Fire, EMAS and the Air Ambulance.

‘One person (the pilot) is currently being treated at the scene for their injuries.’  

A company called Air Leasing Ltd is also based at the aerodrome, which specialises in the maintenance and operation of World War II era fighters.

It is run by the mother and son team of Carolyn and Richard Grace.

An ambulance spokesperson said: ‘The caller reported a light aircraft crash. We sent a paramedic in an ambulance car, a crewed ambulance and the air ambulance was also in attendance.

‘We transported one patient to Coventry and Walsgrave Hospital via land ambulance.’

Dogfights are aerial battles between fighter aircraft conducted at close range. They first occurred in Mexico in 1913, shortly after the invention of the airplane.

Until at least 1992, it was a component in every major war, despite beliefs after World War II that increasingly greater speeds and longer-range weapons would make dogfighting obsolete.

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