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17 Jul, 2020 09:41

Ex-RAF pilot crash lands replica Nazi warplane in field after mistaking tractor tracks for runway

Ex-RAF pilot crash lands replica Nazi warplane in field after mistaking tractor tracks for runway

An 80-year-old former Royal Air Force pilot was lucky to escape with his life after crash-landing his hand-built replica German WWII Luftwaffe plane in a field, having mistaken tractor markings for a runway.

Adventurous octogenarian Barry Conway was enjoying a day’s flying when he attempted to land his half-scale Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf at a small airstrip in Wiltshire, south west England.

Unfortunately for the elderly flying ace, he had been misled by the tractor tyre tracks, which resembled a runway, and dramatically crash landed in a field of crops. The force of the landing, and the ruts created by the tractor tyres, caused the plane to flip over as it skidded along the surface immediately after impact.


Firefighters rushed to the scene and Conway was quickly cut from the plane and brought to hospital. He suffered cracked vertebrae in his neck and back but was able to talk to his rescuers as they pulled him from the plane. He is now recovering in hospital, and his friend and flying colleague Dudley Pattison said that he is lucky to be alive.

“The ruts made by the tractor wheels made the plane flip over onto its back,” Pattison told the Swindon Advertiser newspaper. “He is very lucky to be with us. He could have easily broken his neck, and there was always a concern about the fuel igniting.”

Pattison added that Conway can’t understand how he made the error, given his decades of experience flying in the Royal Air Force and as a commercial airline pilot.


Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said crew members attended the scene for just over an hour, using foam to stem the flow of the potentially hazardous aviation fuel.

The battered remains of Conway’s plane, which he built by hand in his garage, were removed from the field with the help of the farmer who works the land. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has said it will carry out an investigation into the incident.

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