Why would anyone want to fly within 100ft of a mountain with a 30 knot wind?

Time and time again over my flying career I ask myself, “why would anyone do that”?

. In the 1970s a flying school in Aberdeen hired a Cessna 172 to an RAF Phantom Pilot so he could show his mother and father the type of low level flying he did around the hills and mountains of Scotland. Unfortunately he got a bit carried away and over enthusiastic and tried to fly towards rising ground which rose faster that the climb performance of the aircraft. He made a vain attempt to get over the peak but ended up splattering the a/c onto the side of the hill totally destroying it. Both he and his parents thankfully survived.  He made the following statement to the press which has always made me smile. when you read this consider that to get anywhere near  a Phantom squadron you need to be the best of the best and one sharp cookie:


The Phantom holds many height and rate of climb records. In one of them in 1962 it climbed to 19,700 feet in  48.787 seconds! The time it takes the average C172 to get to 500 feet!


                                      Doesn’t look much like a Cessnal 172 to me- no carb icing though!


It’s always nice to fly near high ground and see areas you could never normally go to unless you are a mountaineer or serious hill climber but this microlight accident reminds us of just how dangerous it can be if you get carried way and make a knowledge based error.

Both pilot and passenger were killed when this low powered microlight flew within 100 feet of the lee side of a mountain that had a wind of 30 knots blowing over it. The dangers of flying on the lee side of mountains are very well known and are the basis for questions in the PPL exams. There is also an excellent Pink AIC published in 2008, ‘Flight In The Vicinity Of High Ground’ which every pilot should read and be familiar with

Report name: Pegasus Quik, G-CWIK
Registration: G-CWIK
Type: Pegasus Quik
Location: 100 ft below summit of Ben More, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Date of occurrence: 12 May 2012
Summary: The aircraft was being flown by an experienced microlight pilot who was accompanied by the owner, as a passenger, occupying the rear seat.  They were flying from Perth to Glenforsa, on the Isle of Mull, at about 6,000 ft, above scattered cloud.  Approximately 2 nm east of Ben More mountain, in Stirlingshire, the aircraft descended in good visibility, remaining clear of the cloud.  The descent and flight up to one second before impact was recorded on a video camera attached to the aircraft.  The aircraft leveled off below the cloud base and approximately 100 ft above the summit of the mountain.  It continued towards the mountain and encountered severe turbulence in the lee of the summit.  This appeared to cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft, which impacted the south side of the summit, fatally injuring both occupants.
Click here to read full details of this incident and see picture of the accident site
All pilots should read this AIC about flights near HIGH GROUND

Here is the page of current AICS.


You will find the above mentioned under year 2008 or the direct link below


All pilots should be fully conversant with MOUNTAIN OR STANDING WAVE ––  see this article.

I got into the rotor of standing wave in a C150 once on TO at Shobdon and it was one of the most frightening experiences ever. The tug aircraft behind me snapped the tow rope when  it got airborne!



2 thoughts on “Why would anyone want to fly within 100ft of a mountain with a 30 knot wind?

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