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H-5   NAMED - STAUFFER

 

H-5 reportedly worn by pilot Hans Stauffer on Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR1 XV276 (last...) flight on 10 April 1973.


XV276 was a pre-production Hawker Harrier, and the first Harrier to fly, which was allocated for development trials and appears to have been retained by Hawker Siddeley, for this purpose, until 10 April 1973.

 

In the afternoon of this day it was being flown by Lt. Col. Stauffer, as the Swiss Air Force was considering the acquisition of the type.

 

Stauffer took off to fly a circuit, but two minutes into that flight, on the downwind leg, unintentionally pulled the throttle too far back and thus cut the engine.

 

Instead of pushing the throttle forward, and restarting the engine, at only 300 feet he chose to eject.

 

Despite the low height, he did so successfully and safely, emerging uninjured. However the Harrier plunged onto farmland and was destroyed by fire. Stauffer believed that the fault lay with the Harrier's engine.

Hawker Siddeley did not agree. It recorded the cause of the crash as:  "Pilot error. Pilot stop-cocked engine at low level".

 

According to Mr Stauffer, the visible helmet's scratches were touched up after the accident.

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