VIDEO: Vintage Victor bomber accidently takes off at Open Day

A Handley Page Victor bomber aptly nicknamed “Teasin’ Tina” gave shocked onlookers more than they bargained for when it accidently took off during the Cold War Jets day at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome.

The Cold War bomber apparently took off as the co-pilot (who was an engineer and not a pilot, cue the “engineers can never be pilots” jokes) accidently hit the throttle when the aircraft was meant to just taxi down the runway for a photo shoot.

The saviour came in the form of a retired RAF Group Captain Bob Prothero (cue the “RAF are the best jokes”) who grabbed the controls and steered the bomber back onto the ground, where it eventually came to a stop at the end of a runway.

So all ends that ends well, except i have a couple of questions:

  1. Why wasn’t there a certified pilot at the controls in the first place?
  2. How can you accidently hit the throttle (and as a non-pilot that may seem like a really stupid question)?

  3. Who would win out of ‘Teasin’ Tina’ and ‘Lusty Linda’, the only other bomber that is in working conditions?

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10 Responses to VIDEO: Vintage Victor bomber accidently takes off at Open Day

  1. Peter Lewis 9 September, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    Could somebody explain to me how a plane of this size could find itself on the runway with according to records a retired pilot who had not been issued with a current pilots licence for nearly 30years and a totally so called unexperienced co piolot.

    First of all especially at public air displays security and pre display procedures are so stringent that ex pilots and novice copilots would never be allowed near expensive machines.

    I can remember watching a very interesting programme about the Farnborough airshow and the security and procedures even before a licence to hold the show could be issued.

    So many people including first aid,security,and other staff including those piolots who were chosen to do the displays and many more.

    Nearly three months of carefull preperation for just one day.

    The way the piolot handled the plane after takeoff is certainly not that of a man who had not been at the controlls of a plane for nearly 30years.

    I may be wrong but there is something fishy about this story.

    Can somebody prove me wrong as im unconvinced.

  2. Steven 9 September, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    I’m with the guy above in that this looks fishy. There was ample time to realize that the plane was gaining much more speed than was necessary for a taxiing photo shoot before it took off; why didn’t the ‘hero’ pilot retard the throttles before rotation?

  3. Steve 9 September, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    My father was never a pilot, or even an officer, yet when he was in the military, he was authorized to taxi a C-135 out to the runawy (following all control tower instructions) and perform a full power engine run. It would never have happened, but he was qualified and authorized to do it in the event that there were no pilots available (ie. late night engine run, etc). So it’s entirely possible for non-pilots to have a plane on the runway.

  4. mrs sally white 10 September, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    My father was a test pilot and so this piece of news caught my eye. Well done to Mr. Prothero- even retired, he’s still got what it takes. Unfortunately my father died when I was four and a half. His plane, the 1-11, crashed in wiltshire, in 1963.

  5. John Allan 10 September, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    There is so much twaddle about this event.

    The pilot didnt need to be a currently qualified pilot as no flight was intended

    The engineer who was in the co-pilots seat didnt “accidentally hit the throttles” he probably had his hand on the throttles at full power as the intention was to accelerate quickly on the runway and back off just prior to take off speed.

    The engineer did not throttle back immediately the captain instructed, this was the main cause of the event.

    The captain was already holding the controls but he had to move his right hand from the control yoke onto the throttle levers to cut the power.

    What else was the pilot expected to do. Close his eyes and hope for the best?

    I feel a bit sorry for the engineer as he seems to be being made a scapegoat. I understand that this aircraft several occaisions times been accelerated down the runway fasrt enough to raise the nosewheel which is just below the speed needed to fly. The aircraft would have been very light as it had little fuel onboard therefore less lift (speed) would have been required than in normal operations.

    On a last note I hope they manage to continue these open days but with a little more co-ordination

  6. Sandy Young 11 September, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    In the real world real things happen to real people, and that’s what happened here. People like Peter Lewis should get out more often.

  7. Proflig8tor 21 September, 2009 at 5:13 am #

    A high speed abort is much more dangerous than going flying.

    Getting airborne then trying to land on the remaining runway is even more dangerous.

    The safer course of action is to land at the arrival end of the runway with plenty of room for roll out.

    It appears several really bad decisions were made here.

  8. Michael Nielsen 22 September, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    In Denmark we have a phrase:

    One idiot can ask more questions than 10 wise men can answer.


  9. Peter 1 October, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    I was there, this happened at Bruntingthorpe earlier this years. This aircraft along with others was supposed to do a fast taxi. The others being a Lightning, Buccaneer, and Hunter all managed to do their runs without incident (short runs only). The Victor which was the star everybody was waiting for taxied out and sat at the end of the runway spooling up the engines and making some final checks before it’s run. The aircraft sat there for a while before releasing the brakes and going to what sounded like full throttle. Unlike the other aircraft though, the Victor carried on accelerating down the runway a lot further than the other aircraft. This longer run and a very strong crosswind contributed to the unscheduled takeoff as the nose wheel lifted causing the right hand wing to lift and the left wing to drop forcing a lift off. All credit to ALL onboard to gain control and land the aircraft in one piece without any loss of life. I will be there next year but hopefully a little less throttle and a shorter run will be used.

  10. Bob Prothero 12 November, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    I have only just seen this amongst all the other mail over the event. I echo Michael Nielsen’s comment!! I wrote all the facts down in May/Jun/Jul, The CAA were totally satisfied, but there are still armchair pilots who need to get real!!!! Remember guys, the plan and brief was to accelerate to 100K, cut the power, and stop. If you know nothing about multi-crew aircraft operation, do not show your ignorance here!!!

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