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Spitfire Crash Villette-Longuyon 2017-06-11

I had not seen this one – seems the summary is that while the pilot was an experienced “warbird” pilot, this was his first takeoff in a Spitfire. Apologies if this has already been discussed on EuroGA – I couldn’t find it.

Fly more.
LSGY, Switzerland

Unfortunately not the first, nor the last, to have vastly underestimated the requirements to safely fly such a machine…

According to the BEA, no full enquiry, but a self declaration:

Le pilote indique qu’il a peut-être freiné involontairement lors du roulement au décollage, en utilisant le palonnier à un moment où il augmentait la puissance. L’avion a alors basculé sur le nez, puis est passé sur le dos.


The pilot indicates that he may have inadvertently braked during the take-off roll, using the rudder pedal at a time when he was increasing power. The aircraft then rolled onto its nose, then onto its back.

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

Can‘t really believe a pilot would do his very first Spitfire takeoff in front of a big crowd. Possible, but doubtful.

The ground also seems very soft.

Mainz (EDFZ) & Egelsbach (EDFE), Germany

To me it looked more like he brought the tail up too early.


Dan wrote:

The pilot indicates that he may have inadvertently braked during the take-off roll, using the rudder pedal at a time when he was increasing power. The aircraft then rolled onto its nose, then onto its back.

I’ve flown the Spitfire (and P-51) in DCS World, so I’m an expert. :D In the Spitfire, IIRC, the brake is on the stick. No idea if this particular aircraft had a mod to put the brakes on the pedals or not, or even if that is an option.

The things I noticed in this video were that it didn’t seem like he was using the whole runway (pretty strange) and it did look like the brakes were on or there was a lot of resistance on the wheels. The guy was lucky there was no fire, since he could not get out alone.

Fly more.
LSGY, Switzerland

I know nothing about flying a Spitfire. This looks like a take off with the brakes still on….

Unfortunately I have done this. Long story made short, I got stuck in some mud. After the messing around, I accidentally left the hand brake (pa28) partially on, and proceeded to take off. It was downhill on muddy grass. Seemed a bit slow to get going (as in this video), but I guess I started skidding along the slippery surface.

I didn’t realise the brakes were on until I landed at the next airfield on pavement. Shortest landing I have ever done 🙃🙃🙃. I guess I benefited from luck because it had a nose gear, and the brakes were only partially on.

Learned something from that one!!

Sans aircraft at the moment :-(, United Kingdom

Apart from the accident, the crowd psychology is also pretty interesting in that video. At one moment, one guy is yelling at the crowd to come help lift the plane and extract the pilot, while another guy simultaneously screems at everybody to stay back. The guy was lucky no fire broke out… these tiny fire extinguishers wouldn’t do much probably.

always learning
LO__, Austria

Certainly plenty of braking involved there. At no point is the aircraft moving fast enough for the tail to come up due to airflow.

My last memory item before opening the throttle on a taildragger is ‘feet clear of the brakes’.

If the brakes on a Spitfire are indeed controlled by a squeeze lever on the stick, then that’s got all sorts of potential for exactly this problem if one is only used to foot-operated brakes. First take off, open throttle, get ready for the unknown, hold stick really tight……

Suggest practice routine before first take off ought to include a couple of fast taxi runs to get used to the brakes and train one’s brain.


He was lucky to survive. Some years ago a Spitfire landed too far at Tynset, he headed into the crop field, the aircraft tumbled around, and the pilot broke his neck and died. There’s nothing protecting the pilot if that happens. Perhaps this one was very short…

Not knowing how to operate the brakes before the first flight in the Spitfire just sounds way too weird. There must be some other explanation.

The elephant is the circulation

Spitfire brakes are on a lever on the stick. There is no spring loaded return; you have to physically push the lever away to stop braking.

Forever learning
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