On April 26, 2008, about 1430 central daylight time, a 1944 Vickers Spitfire airplane, N308WK, collided with a 1941 Canadian Car and Foundry Hurricane airplane, N96RW during landing roll-out on the runway at the Scholes International Airport, (GLS), Galveston, Texas. Both airplanes were substantially damaged, and neither pilot was injured by the collision. The Spitfire was owned and operated by a private individual and the Hurricane was operated by the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame museum, Galveston, Texas. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
Both aircraft had participated in an aerial demonstration, with several other aircraft. The Spitfire pilot reported that at the conclusion of the demonstration and with the aircraft in-line for landing; the spacing (between airplanes) "seemed normal as per-standard airshow practice". He reported that as the lead airplane turned onto final approach, the lead pilot radioed, "Everyone is going all the way to the end" [of the runway], and with other airplanes landing behind you, that was "standard airshow practice". The Spitfire pilot added that it was also "normal airshow practice" to land on the same side of the runway that you took off from. The pilot reported that since he expected the Hurricane to exit the runway at the end, he was only applying light braking during the landing roll-out. The Spitfire pilot also reported that during a 3-point landing in the Spitfire; forward visibility is restricted, and without a radio call, was not aware that the Hurricane pilot was having a problem.
The Hurricane pilot reported that after landing and while attempting to roll the length of the runway "at a brisk tax speed, the right brake failed to respond" and the airplane ground looped to the left. He added that after the airplane stopped, the right brake still would not work, and he was struck from behind (by the Spitfire), while attempting to return to the right side of the runway.
The airboss for the event reported that he cleared the airplanes to start their landing sequence. He added that he was able to watch the airplanes as they touched down, but was not able to see their rollout due to parked aircraft in front of his position. He further added that he had multiple aircraft in the air, and he was keeping an eye on spacing. The airboss was not aware of a problem until a marshaller notified him.
The museum's director of maintenance reported that the Hurricane was equipped with the original style pneumatic brake system and on April 28, 2008 the brakes on the Hurricane were examined. The examination revealed that the airplane's brake system was still holding pressure. The airplane was then jacked and both wheels turned freely, the brakes were activated together and then separately; no problem with the brakes were noted. The maintenance director added that the Hurricane’s brakes were meant for stopping, and that heavy application of the brakes could result in the brakes getting "hot and fading away".
At 1452, the automated weather observing system at Scholes International Airport (GLS), reported wind variable at 4 knots, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky, temperature 81-degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 59-degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.97 inches of Mercury.