Doug Bianchi & Neil Williams

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18 years 6 months

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Thats good thanks, shows the colours well.

Mike

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24 years 4 months

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A fascinating thread. That broken Zlin deserved to be kept as it was to illustrate how brilliant flying, the ability to cope with pressure, and a thorough technical knowledge of your aircraft, can save the day.

MH434 used to visit Shoreham during the '70s every now and then to refuel, and depart. Oh yes, and the odd display chucked in! Those were the days, for sure....

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15 years 9 months

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G-AYAK Kings Cup Cranfield 1973

This must have been an early outing for G-AYAK...don't know who was flying it in the race
And a little research (FlightGlobal Archive) shows the race pilot was A P Trowbridge....Neil Williams apparently displayed in a Pitts Special while the Kings Cup aircraft were en-route

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24 years 4 months

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Sorry to ressurect this thread, but does anyone have any photos, preferably colour, of Neil Williams' Zlin 526 G-AWAR?

Mike

I do have a colour slide of G-AWAR at RAF Hullavington, Wilts. taken on Tuesday 12th May 1970, but unfortunately I have no means of scanning it onto my pc at this point in time. I did take a couple of b&w shots however on that day so I'm posting one here - hope it's useful.

This aircraft was at Hullavington, along with fellow Zlin G-AWJX, being flown by Neil Williams and other pilots during practice sessions for the 1970 World Aerobatics Championships, scheduled for that July. It was only 3 weeks after I took this photo that G-AWAR had its eventful landing on 3rd June 1970.

Richard

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One of the Zlin on here after it had crashed

http://www.aviadores.net/williams.html

Unfortunately all in Spanish

The article appeared in 'Flight International' on 18th June 1970 - here's the English version :-

Zlin wing Structural Failure Report

By Neil Williams - British Aerobatic Team member
1970 World Aerobatic Championships, practising at Hullavington
The weather at Hullavington was good, with 2/8 of cumulus based above 3,500ft, 1,066m. The wind was south-easterly, 5kt to 10kt and there was no turbulence.

Because there were three static balloons flying in front of ATC it was decided that we would use runway O5/23 as datum and fly on sorties over the grass parallel to that runway. This would keep us well clear of the balloons and the wind was so light that it did not pose any problems.

Two Zlins were operational that day, with three pilots. I had flown one sortie and took off on the second with full fuel tanks at 11.35 a.m. The sequence was flown twice through satisfactorily, and the aircraft was climbed for the next and final run through. Everything progressed normally until the completion of the fifth figure. which was a vertical climbing half roll, half outside loop to a vertical dive and pull out to level flight at about 1,000ft, 300m. During this pullout, as the nose came up to the level attitude, with 5g indicating. There was a loud bang and a severe jolt was felt through the airframe.

I have heard eyewitness reports in which the aircraft is said to have "staggered". That is perhaps the best way to describe the immediate sensation following the failure. At the same instant there was a sudden and very peculiar increase in slipstream noise. and I found myself leaning against the straps to the left although, as I looked left, the aircraft appeared to be flying level. I had reduced power and centralised controls instinctively at the first signs of trouble.

The reason for the sensation of being pulled to the left was very soon apparent. Although the left wing was flying more or less level, the rest of the aeroplane was rolling left around the failure point. At this stage there was some degree of control over the aircraft, which was by this time beginning to lose height. I throttled fully back to reduce speed and thereby reduce the flight loads, but this caused the nose to drop further. Dihedral was increasing steadily and the roll and yaw to the left were becoming progressively more determined. Full power was then applied in an attempt to get the nose up, but this had no effect at all on the situation. By this time the aircraft was outside the airfield and losing height fast. It was my intention to try to keep the wings as level as possible and to try to achieve a shallow flight path with the intention of arriving, if possible, right way up in the most convenient field available. It was, however, apparent that if control was being lost at that rate, it would have gone completely before reaching the ground. In fact all control was finally lost at about 300ft, 91m.

At this stage the aircraft had turned left nearly 90° from its original heading, and was banked 90° to the left (at least the fuselage was). I thought the wing had folded to about 45° but it was probably less than that, if one takes into account the fright factor. Full right aileron and rudder were being held on and the throttle was wide open as the bank reached 90° left and the nose finally dropped. The sideslip was very high, and the instinctive reaction to pull the stick back only worsened the situation. I had heard a report from Bulgaria some years ago where a top wing bolt had failed on an early mark of Zlin whilst under negative g and that the aircraft had involuntarily flick rolled right way up, whereupon the wing came back into position, and the aircraft was landed by a very frightened, but alive, pilot. I had guessed by this time that a lower wing bolt had failed and that I was faced with a similar situation, albeit inverted.

It seemed that if positive G had saved the Bulgarian, negative G might work for me. In any event, there was nothing else left to try. I centralised the rudder, rolled left and pushed, still with full throttle. The wing snapped back into position with a loud bang. which made me even more concerned for the structure. Immediately the negative G started to rise and the nose started coming up. Altitude was very low by this time and I had no instrument readings at all. For just a moment I thought I was going into the trees, but then the nose was up and the machine was climbing fast, inverted. I was just beginning to think that I might make it after all when the engine died. I checked the fuel pressure - zero. A check around the cockpit revealed the fact that the main fuel **** had been knocked off. This could possibly have been the result of the jolt which accompanied the initial failure. I think I was probably thrown around in the cockpit and may well have accidentally knocked the **** then. I selected reserve fuel and almost immediately realised that this position would take fuel from the bottom of the gravity tank, which was of course now upside down. I therefore re-selected main tank and after a few coughs the engine started and ran at full power.

Inverted circuit
I was quite low again by this time and initially started to climb straight ahead. I then turned back towards the airfield and continued the inverted climb to 1OOOft, 305m. By this time, the remainder of the team had been very quick off the mark and had alerted crash facilities. I throttled back to conserve fuel as I knew the gravity tank was only good for about 8 minutes safe inverted flight. I then turned the aircraft in steady flight and held the stick between my knees (no aileron trimmer) whilst I used both hands to tighten my shoulder harness even more. Had a parachute been carried I would have climbed as high as possible and used it.

I then considered using undercarriage and/or flaps, but rejected both. Flaps were no use to me whilst inverted, and I could not fly right way up anyway. Also if only one flap extended it would cause an immediate loss of control. The undercarriage required more thought. If I could make an inverted approach with a last minute rollout and if the aircraft arrived on its wheels damage might be minimised. However, if the gear fully or partially collapsed the aircraft might turn over. Also, and this was the biggest argument against, the Zlin undercarriage usually extends with a fairly solid thump.

I did not know exactly what damage had occurred and I was concerned in case the strain of lowering the wheels might remove the wing altogether. It was just as well that I left thewheels up, because the failure was not the wing bolt after all, but in the centre section inboard of the undercarriage leg.

I also considered four possibilities for landing, namely, inverted ditching, deliberately crashing inverted into trees to take the impact, inverted crash-landing on the airfield, or an inverted approach with a last minute rollout and hope for the best.

The last seemed to hold the best chances for survival, but I then decided to experiment to see which way was the best to rollout; if the rate of fold of the wing was sufficiently slow it might have been possible to exercise some control over what was obviously going to be a belly landing (I hoped). A rollout to the left was attempted, and the wing immediately started to fold, with the result that the inverted flight was quickly re-established. The rollout to the right was not investigated, as the left wing was obviously being weakened by these manoeuvres. Also the supply of adrenalin was getting rather low by this time.

A wide inverted circuit was made for the grass strip parallel to runway 23. As the crosswind was insignificant this afforded the best approach, clear of buildings and balloons. The threshold was crossed at 112 m.p.h., 180 k.p.h. at about 200ft, 60m with the throttle closed. Petrol and switches were left on in case it was necessary to overshoot; also the canopy was retained, since I did not want my height judgement affected by slipstream. The possibility of a jammed canopy was considered, but the hood is very light, and I felt that I could break my way out if necessary. A slow inverted flare was made and the aircraft was levelled as near to the ground as possible.

Low, low rollout
As the speed fell to 87 m.p.h., 140 k.p.h. a full aileron rollout was made to the right, and just a trace of negative G was maintained in order to hold the left wing in place. The aircraft responded well to the controls at this stage, but as it approached level flight the left wing started to fold up again. The nose was already down as a result of the slight negative G, and subsequent examination of the impact marks showed that the left wing tip touched the ground during the roll, although this could not be felt inside the aircraft. As the wing folded the aircraft hit the ground hard in a slight nose down, left bank attitude. I released the controls and concentrated on trying to roll into a ball, knees and feet pulled up and in, and head down protected by arms. I had a blurred impression of the world going past the windscreen sideways and then with a final jolt, everything stopped. I released the harness, which had done a very good job, and then found that the canopy had sprung 6in, 15cm open and jammed. I didn't bother to investigate this, as the petrol tanks had split! I gave the canopy a resounding blow and it flew open first time. I felt mildly surprised that everything was still working as I evacuated the area, and having decided that the aircraft was not going to burn, and having also collected some semblance of breath and composure, I returned to the aircraft and made all switches safe. The crash services were on the scene very quickly, which was most encouraging. Fortunately they were not required.

The aircraft was a complete write-off, but on reaching into the cockpit and checking the, seat, it was as solid as a rock, all the straps were intact, and on moving the control column, both ailerons worked in the correct sense. True, there was a failure, but it is a tribute to the Czech designers and engineers that the aircraft could be flown at all.

It was a nasty experience, but a lot can be learned from it, notably that the aileron was acting as a geared tab, as the wing folded. This resulted in the left aileron being pulled down, since the aileron rods were intact, and as the wing moved, the aileron was applied without any movement of the stick. Any attempt to apply right aileron merely worsened this situation. I could have saved myself a lot of problems by rolling left immediately the failure occurred. It seems also that the damaged wing must be towards the ground during any rolls, either in or out. The ability to fly over an airfield with crash facilities is absolutely essential. This time assistance was not required, but lives have already been saved by this.

This situation may never be repeated but if such an accident does occur again the information in this account may be useful.

I hope it will never be needed.

From Flight International - 18 June 1970

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18 years 6 months

Posts: 72

I do have a colour slide of G-AWAR at RAF Hullavington, Wilts. taken on Tuesday 12th May 1970, but unfortunately I have no means of scanning it onto my pc at this point in time. I did take a couple of b&w shots however on that day so I'm posting one here - hope it's useful.

This aircraft was at Hullavington, along with fellow Zlin G-AWJX, being flown by Neil Williams and other pilots during practice sessions for the 1970 World Aerobatics Championships, scheduled for that July. It was only 3 weeks after I took this photo that G-AWAR had its eventful landing on 3rd June 1970.

Richard

Thanks Richard,

They are all useful, the reason for asking being that I am making a R/C model of one. I have most of what I need thanks to the replies, I just need to establish what the crest is on the fin and whether the registration was on the underside of one of the wings?

Mike

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24 years 4 months

Posts: 159

Thanks Richard,

They are all useful, the reason for asking being that I am making a R/C model of one. I have most of what I need thanks to the replies, I just need to establish what the crest is on the fin and whether the registration was on the underside of one of the wings?

Mike

Mike - I'm fairly sure the rectangular motif carried on the tail of G-AWAR is made up of 2 horizontal sections (white at the top and green below, incorporating a red 'Welsh Dragon' (As in the shot I've attached here).

I know that another Zlin (226T Trener 6 'G-ATMZ') wore the almost identical colourscheme (White to top fuselage with horizontal blue cheatline from front to rear and red underbelly / underneath wings. That aircraft also carried the same rectangular 'dragon' motif. (see link - http://www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1101267/ ) and was flown by Neil Williams and other pilots taking part in previous World Aerobatics Championships, before that machine also suffered a horrendous crash which wrote it off (Redhill 8-4-1967) - on that occasion flown by Tiger Club member James Black.

As for whether G-AWAR had its reg'n marks on the underside of one of its wings - I really cannot be sure. Maybe one of our fellow 'Forumites' may hold the answer to that one.

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Member for

15 years 1 month

Posts: 70

I have some 1960's 8mm cine film of Neil Williams doing his stuff at a Battle Of Britain display at Biggin Hill.

These screen grabs show Neil inverted over the crowd in his Zlin Trener. I guesstimate he was not much more thn 20ft above the spectators.

My first post to this forum so hope it works!

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r231/thawes/LowPass1.jpg

Approaching inverted

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r231/thawes/LowPass2.jpg

Above the spectators

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r231/thawes/LowPass3.jpg

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r231/thawes/LowPass4.jpg

Climbing away - still inverted

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Welcome to the forum thawes. But ye gads.. is that really over the crowd.?. well i never.

Moggy, are you sure that is not you on finals to Duxford..?.. blimey no wonder you got a slap wrist.:p

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14 years 9 months

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MH434

I have just seen the you tube for the first time (many thanks) and what a piece of nostalgia it is. I was first introduced to her in 1996 or seven when I was taken round in the hangar at Dx whilst she was being overhauled for the first time in her life. There was a large sign on the hangar door saying No Admittance. I poked my head round the door and this chap said come in and have a look. I still have the video I took at the time. She had no markings at all, The engineer said to me this is MH434 and my attraction for her began. I had recently sold my business and for the first ime in my life I was at DX. I then met Ray Hanna and chatted with him. A few weeks later we met again, this time whilst she was being pulled out on to the runway. Ray then put her thru her paces. WOW!.
She has been my all time favourite ever since.

I have never heard of Doug Bianchi & Neil Williams, but I certainly have now. Thats what I like about this forum. EVERY DAY IS A NEW EXPERIENCE.

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16 years 7 months

Posts: 6,001

Just came across this nice shot of Neil in a Spitfire at Duxford. It was in the Dec 1977 copy of Duxford Aviation News, and also contained brief obituaries of Neil Williams, Ormond Haydon-Baillie and Doug Bianchi... What a bad year that was. Photo not credited.

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17 years 1 month

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i know it is a bit late as now 2009/2010 but I knew Neil and his wife from the tiger club
and he use to tell me how he played the guitar. I remember a few days before he left his wife gave me her tiger club membership card for what reason i cannot remember and I never saw her again . But I do remember the first time I met him I landed at Redhill in my Cub and saw him standing by the hangar and I said "Do you Fly" and he said "Yes sort of" and with that he went off and did the most fantastic aerobatics I had ever seen was my face red when he came back .

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15 years 9 months

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i know it is a bit late as now 2009/2010 but I knew Neil and his wife from the tiger club
and he use to tell me how he played the guitar. I remember a few days before he left his wife gave me her tiger club membership card for what reason i cannot remember and I never saw her again . But I do remember the first time I met him I landed at Redhill in my Cub and saw him standing by the hangar and I said "Do you Fly" and he said "Yes sort of" and with that he went off and did the most fantastic aerobatics I had ever seen was my face red when he came back .

Thanks for posting, thats a nice little story there. Its a shame I was too young to ever see him display.

Cheers, Huw:)

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15 years 10 months

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1970's aerobatic documentary

Back in the 70's I can vaguely remember a documentary following a British Aerobatic pilot through the WAC. The pilot was Neil Williams and our family watched with interest as at the time a friend of my father's was getting aerobatic training from him at Elstree. That friend of Dad's was Spencer Flack.
Can't remember the year or location, sorry!, but it was based around Neil and his build up to flying in the competition, together with his views on what was being flown in front of him.
Somebody out there, hopefully can shed more light on this, pretty sure I didn't dream it...or maybe...!

My last recollection of him was as a young lad in my first visit to Duxford in June 1977, flying the Yak-11 G-AYAK and Spitfire MH434.

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16 years 9 months

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Goodness, another year gone by...

Thanks to all those who have contributed to this thread.

I wonder what Neil and Doug would make of the aviation scene these days?

Attached is Neil Williams flying Spencer Flack's first Sea Fury T.20 G-BCOW circa 1976-77.

Out - Roxeth

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I think the article that made me laugh the most was Doug Bianchi's tale of a Proctor he'd rescued that made it's own spare parts as it flew. Definitely don't make them like that any more.

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Neil W

Ah Neil! I was in FTI at Handley Page when he joined as a TP on the Jetstream programme. I actually flew with him in a Hastings - Neil in the left-hand seat and John Tank in the right-hand seat. He also brought a Zlin Trener to Radlett one day and stopped all work at the Park Street end by practising aerobatics in mid-afternoon (he was European champion at the time). He was recalled part way throught the routine and requested to do such things out of hours! He went up again after five o'clock and started again but this time, part way through the routine, the L/H udercarriage up-lock failed and he had to land back.
A lovely story is that when we were out in Pau with the Jetstream, he found a small grass airfield not too far away and asked if he could fly a few aeros in their Stompe. The rather pompous CFI, not knowing who he was, agreed but said he would show him the ropes first and then would let Neil have a go. Neil promptly went through his full competition display and when they landed the only two words the somewhat shaken CFI could utter were Merveilleux, Fantastique!
Lynne, his second wife, was also an FTI engineer at HP, although more senior than me. A great lady.
Both sadly missed

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14 years 7 months

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Thanks to all who have responded to this post so far.

Much interesting information and great photo's.

I think it just serves to illustrate how influential they were and the regard in which they are still held.

Exactly my feelings. I have been reading and enjoying every contribution but feel I can add nothing to what has been said, except to recall many great memories.