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Royal Air Force Aircraft (Crash)

Volume 981: debated on Monday 17 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a full statement on the crash on 11 March on a Royal Air Force aircraft during an exercise, near the town of Lampeter in Dyfed.

A RAF Harrier aircraft from RAF Gutersloh, Germany, crashed about three miles from Lampeter, Dyfed, shortly after 3.30 pm on 12 March. The aircraft was one of a formation of three taking part in low level work up training for Exercise Maple Flag which is due to be held in Canada in May. The pilot ejected safely; there was no injury to anyone on the ground or damage to civilian property.

The cause of the crash is the subject of an investigation by an RAF board of inquiry which commenced immediately; a synopsis of the circumstances will be published when the findings are completed. However, I can say at this stage that initial reports indicate that the pilot was obliged to shut down the engine following a bird strike. In an attempt to save the aircraft, and in accordance with standard operation practice the pilot jettisoned the external fuel tanks and other stores. The latter did not include ordnance of any kind. Subsequent efforts to relight the engine proved unsuccesful, and after ensuring that the aircraft was pointed towards open countryside, the pilot ejected. Jettisoned stores from the aircraft landed some three miles from the aircraft crash site without causing damage.