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 Post subject: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 25 May 2013, 15:53 
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Tomorrow, 26th May 2013, marks the 42nd year since the accident of 3 Hawker Siddeley 125 "Mercurius" aircraft that crashed into Devils Peak with the loss of all 11 SAAF personnel.
Lest we forget

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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 25 May 2013, 17:18 
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See also viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1000

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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 15 Jun 2013, 22:00 
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Very sad accident, can anybody tell me more about the formation they were practising for? 220 aircraft is a huge formation!


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 15 Jun 2013, 22:14 
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Location: Plymouth in body, Cape Town in spirit
*blinks* where did this number come from?


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 16 Jun 2013, 07:45 
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220 is mentioned here
www.flickr.com/photos/8270787@N07/4591744834/
Saw it somewhere else but can't find it.


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 16 Jun 2013, 07:56 
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220 also mentioned here
www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1640911 ... 7&refid=17


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 16 Jun 2013, 08:22 
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nathan.howson wrote:


It was a massive flypast - 10th Republic Day celebrations that year were concentrated in Cape Town and virtually everything with wings or rotors the air force owned was involved. One thing I recall was the order that if an aircraft in the display suffered a malfunction which might cause it to crash on a runway it was to proceed to a point north of Robben Island and the pilot to eject or a ditching to be attempted. A crash boat was positioned there to pick up any survivors. Four northern holding areas existed from which each formation departed to take past in the flypast. Basically the formations came down the N7 past the saluting stand at the old Goodwood showground and then turned to starboard and proceeded to a several holding area off Robben Island from which they would then disperse to whichever airfield was designated. Most of the fast stuff came from Langebaanweg but others came from DF Malan and Ysterplaat and even IIRC from Summer's field. The strip on Robben Island was a designated emergency landing area. And an enormous amount of planning went into the show to ensure that each formation appeared overhead in neat groups at the right time. From Harvards to Mirages. The Hs-125 group either made it's turn to starboard too late or too gently and flew into cloud over Devil's Peak.


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 16 Jun 2013, 09:00 
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Eugene wrote:
The Hs-125 group either made it's turn to starboard too late or too gently and flew into cloud over Devil's Peak.


The -125 formation was running a little late, so they increased speed to appear over the dias on time. They then turned starboard (towards Table Mountain) at the designated time and at the briefed turn rate, but because they were now flying faster, their radius of turn increased as well ... :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 16 Jun 2013, 13:56 
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nathan.howson wrote:
220 is mentioned here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8270787@N07/4591744834/
Saw it somewhere else but can't find it.


Thanks, hadn't come across it before.


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 26 May 2020, 10:15 
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49 years ago, today.

Found this on Facebook:

Code:
List by Graham du Toit.
26 May 1971: Eleven SAAF members, nine from 21 Squadron and two from 24 Squadron were killed when a formation of three Hawker Siddeley Mercurius HS125 aircraft, Serial Numbers 01; 02; and 03, flew into the side of Devil’s Peak during an aircraft formation practice rehearsal for the Republic Day 10th Anniversary celebrations in Cape Town. The casualties were:
Mercurius 01
01239243E Major (Pilot) Michael Christiaan de Graaff Genis. He was 32.
01556794R Captain (Co-Pilot) Daniel du Plessis Lombard. He was 37.
Mercurius 02
01217140E Commandant (Pilot) Lourens Adrian Francois Henning. He was 40
01240472E Major (Co-Pilot) George Johannes Euvrard. He was 32
01238484E Major Nico Beetge from 24 Squadron (Passenger). He was 31
01520345ECaptain Gerald Nicol Snyman from 24 Squadron (Passenger). He was 27
Mercurius 03
01455849E Major (Pilot) Herwie Herman Albert Cornelius Lamoral. He was 37
01204197E Major (Co-Pilot) Willem Abram Prinsloo. He was 37
05559893ECorporal Reiner Nicolaas Grobler (Passenger). He was 24
65480436E Lance Corporal Eugene Hayes (Passenger). He was 22
65533705E Private Gerhardus Hermanus Wasserman (Passenger). He was 21



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May they Rest in Peace.


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 26 May 2020, 12:49 
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viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1000&start=15

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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 27 May 2020, 13:16 
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There was also additional information that will help to explain the accident. I was a second-year student at the Military Academy at the time and was in charge of the squad of second-years that were seat-ushers for the VIPs around the dias. We also practised every day and I give my observations of the day. A lot of speculation as to the cause of the accident was discussed in the Air Force and the BOI members had a diffucult task as there were no such things as DFDRs, CVRs, GPWSs etc. in those days There were three days of practise flypast runs prior to the event on 31 May and not to spoil the event by flying four times over the Dias, the practise runs had to break away to the right as they approached the R101 Voortrekker Rd. Normally the prevailing wind is the southeaster, so the the wind was from the front and helped to push the formations into the turn after the break-away. With a southeaster, the prevailing weather in Cape Town is blue skies.

Upon breaking away at the same place with the same amount of bank (rate of turn) like in the previous practises, where there was a head-wind and no overcast, Table Mountain was plainly in sight and it was safely avoided. On the day of the accident however, a little coastal low had slipped down the west coast and there was a northerly breeze (following wind) with low overcast at around 2000' AGL with Table Mountain obscured, but the run-in path OK as I recall, so the third and now a much more controlled practise flypast went ahead.

In the early 70s there was no on-board equipment that displayed groundspeed or good heavens, the wind, so timing on a run-in was controlled by using power inputs to change the airspeed, using the stopwatch to compare features on the map/ground to ascertain the groundspeed, ie being early or late at a specific point and then repeating this process continually until you reach the dias. With a tailwind on the day of the accident, the groundspeeds were a lot higher with the same power-setting as under south-easterly conditions and it could well have been that all formations ended up a little early further back in the run-in as the previous two days. Power adjustments were made and it is very easy to fall behind if you were a few second early, reduced power and 30 seconds later you were still early, reduced power even more and at the next point 30 seconds or so on, you suddenly find the formation now being a few seconds late, but with the dias/break-away now looming close-by and a lot of formations behind you. Nobody wants to be late, so a good handful of power is added under these situations. It was therefore highly probable that the Mercurius formation could have been a bit late quite far down the run-in path, had a lot of power on and reached the break-away point a little bit hot and cranked on the bank of the previous practise runs. With with the concomittant higher air- and groundspeed, the turning circle would have been a lot wider plus the north-wester was pushing them further out of the turn, ie a lot more to the south and the path over the grond now not clearing the mountain as before. Maybe this situation was picked up a bit late, as the previous turns were OK and Table Mountain plainly visible Now the mountain was obscured by the cloud and the formation in trouble far into the turn. One could only speculate as to the consternation and panic in the cockpits. If I remember correctly, no 2, who was looking left and up to his leader, impacted virtually in his position in the formation and No3 looking down and to the right towards his leader and maybe having had Table Mountain in the left corner of his eye, started pulling up causing him to impact slightly higher-up than the other two.

Truly a sad day


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 Post subject: Re: Mercurius Accident
PostPosted: 27 May 2020, 14:02 
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Thanks for the input Anton, sounds very plausible.

Truly a sad day indeed. I still remember, as a five year old, all the helicopters flying over my house in the southern suburbs and seeing the wreckage on the mountain from outside my fathers shop on Rondebosch Main Rd.

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