domingo, 5 de mayo de 2013


Today May 5, 2013 there has been an air accident of a HA-200 Saeta Twin-Jet aircraft at Cuatro Vientos Airport during the monthly FIO Exhibition at approximately 13:42 h in the afternoon, when because of unknown reasons, the airplane, equipped by two Turbomeca Marboré II A turbojets featuring 400 kg thrust each, lost its usual trajectory to land after finishing its air show and its power was decreasing during a turn until it fell and crashed against the police hangar of helicopters, located by the airdrome, resulting in an explosion with great flames and subsequent dense cloud of smoke, the fire being extinguished in very few minutes by AENA and Madrid firemen, who operated with great quickness and managed to draw the pilot, who had been trapped inside the airplane as a consequence of the impact, and was taken by ambulance, very seriously injured, to Getafe Hospital.

The complete sequence of the sad accident can be seen in these images:

The HA-200 Saeta begins a descending turn

which progressively describes its course,

but because of unknown reasons, suddenly the aircraft loses its usual trajectory of return to the airstrip to land, experiences a visible power loss

and starts flying at an exceedingly low altitude, very near the upper area of the radio antenna tower and its supporting cables

The tragedy is about to happen. The remaining altitude to the ground is very scarce, and the aircraft begins to fall.

The airplane goes on falling and is already at very few meters on the ground, flying at the height of the white painted lower area of the radio antenna tower, just an instant before crashing against the police hangar of helicopters.

Close-up of the aircraft, approximately half a second before crashing against the police hangar.

The aircraft has just crashed against the police hangar and a large fireball raises in the air, followed by dense smoke. 

Many spectators throw their hands over their heads in horror.

People are in dismay and shock immediately after having watched the utterly unexpected accident. Everybody is highly worried about the pilot.

Although we know the identity of the pilot of the HA-200 Saeta involved in the accident from 13:55 h in the afternoon, because we were reported about it by a person who was present today at Cuatro Vientos airdrome and whose son (who was also watching the flight exhibition in situ) was a friend of the pilot, we deem that the respect for the family must be top priority, so we have waited until 18:00 h in the afternoon to publish this humble article, because according to our information, the pilot (whose identity we think that either the family or the FIO are the appropriate people to reveal it) had been taken to Getafe Hospital being very seriously injured, and besides the father of the pilot was also among the public at the moment of the accident.

Likewise, a few minutes ago the news has been reported that the pilot, a highly qualified and experienced professional featuring a lot of years of experience, has died at the hospital because of the very serious burns suffered at the moment of the collision of the plane against the helicopters hangar of the airdrome police (it will be necessary to wait for the deep study of both the FIO professional pilots and mechanics and the members of the Civil Aviation Commission of Investigation of Accidents to thoroughly know the real circumstances which provoked the crash, so nobody should speculate but wait for the final conclusions reached by persons who devote their entire lives to aviation, feature exceedingly deep knowledge and have been risking their own lives for decades because of love towards these highly beautiful airplanes and the divulgation of the History and Heritage of the Spanish Aviation).

And his identity has already been revealed: Ladislao Tejedor Romero, major of the Spanish Air Force, who featured great experience as a flight instructor in the School of Talavera la Real and also as a fighter pilot and demonstration pilot of F-18 in the Wing 12 and was likewise one of the three pilots assigned to fly the HA-200 Saeta.

On the other hand, the HA-200 Saeta is not any ´avioneta´ as has been published in some online media, but an advanced training and light ground-attack fighter twin-jet aircraft designed in 1955 by the German aeronautic engineer Willy Messerschmitt and the first jet airplane made in Spain, which in 1957 was one of the best aircraft of its type in the world, as was proved by Pedro Santacruz during his formidable flight exhibition made in Le Bourguet in 1957, which dumbfounded the aviation specialized international press.

It is also one of the most legendary jet aircraft in the History of Aviation, in whose manufacture took also part Professor Gero Madelung (- one of the key figures in late sixties in the genesis of the thriving European aeronautic industry within the sphere of commercial aircraft business with the Anglo-German-French Airbus Project, which greatly consolidated during seventies, when MBB provided a 38% of the whole capital of the Airbus Industrie commercial jetliner consortium and manufactured a high percentage of parts of the Airbus A-300 and Airbus A-310 that were taken by plane to the Aérospatiale facilities in Toulouse, France, for their final assembly- ), currently one of the foremost experts in the world on propulsion systems and aerodynamic and structural designs of airplanes, Chief Engineer between 1960 and 1965 of the design of the vertical takeoff VJ 101 experimental aircraft and its variants, Director of the Division of Military Aviation of MBB GmbH and of the formation of prototypes of the MRCA Tornado (substitute of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter) - which would give birth in 1974 to the final Panavia Tornado, whose entrance into service was in 1979- in 1973 (optimizing the similitude between the preproduction batch and the standard production units and developing at the Ottobrunn MBB facilities a state-of-the-art simulator featuring a hybrid analogue-digital computerized system with visual device able to fly at Mach 2, as well as making a variable-geometry wing configuration design enhancing the low induced drag from the wing in its high-aspect-ratio unswept or semi-swept position, which provided the MRCA with a tremendous manoeuvrability, specially up to Mach 1, in spite of sporting a lower thrust/weight ratio than the F-15), Managing Director of Panavia Aircraft GmbH from its foundation in 1969 until 1978, having also been  Executive Director of MBB and one of the most significant chied engineers of of the Anglo-German-Italian Panavia Tornado Program along with B.O. Heath and Ricardo Mautino, setting forth the essential keynote of  the aircraft which was explained by Oskar Friedrich from MBB and Brian Young from British Aerospace during the 10th Congress of the ICAS held in Ottawa in early October 1976 as an advanced STOL fighter-bomber focusing the global integrated function and performance of the airframe attained by the the synthesis of all systems) and is presently Professor of Aeronautics at the Technical University of Munich) and a remarkable group of Spanish aeronautical engineers as José Javier Ruiz, Rafael Rubio Elola, José María Cerdeño, Angel Figueroa Gómez, Jaime Esteva Salom and others.

The Infante of Orleans Foundation is currently worldwide recognized as one of the most prestigious within its scope of classical aircraft in flight, has highly qualified and experienced pilots and mechanics, and throughout all of its many working years (nothing more than 24 since its inception in 1989) it hadn´t had not even an accident, an unprecedented landmark until today sad unexpected development.

From these lines, we wish to convey our condolences to the family of this great pilot.

Ladislao Tejedor Romero during his flight exhibition with the HA-200 Saeta of FIO at the airdrome of Cuatro Vientos. May he rest in peace

Copyright Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza