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Flipping its Lid, Vintage Bomber Takes Out Food Stand

DW staff (jen)May 19, 2006

In Münster, an errant plane part made short work of a fast food joint, in an accident involving vintage aircraft, a tennis court, and a very big piece of glass.

Bratwurst sellers may learn to be more careful when one of these flies by.Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The saga began when a British pilot was flying his World War II U.S. fighter P51 Mustang to be exhibited at the International Air Show (ILA) in Berlin. As he passed over the German city of Münster, the 1.9 meter (6 foot) plexiglass-and-steel cockpit cover broke away from the plane and plummeted to earth, striking the roof of a house and demolishing a takeaway stand.

The runaway dome also narrowly missed a woman on a tennis court, who was there to pick up her daughter from a lesson.

The pilot, Robert W. Davies, apparently did not follow normal procedure and send out an emergency call on the internationally-available SOS radio channel. Instead he completed his flight in a topless plane.

It wasn't clear if he tried to signal the accident over a different radio channel. Flying without a cockpit dome is possible and legal, air safety authorities said.

Some 400 kilometers (200 miles) later, Davies, who owns a number of vintage aircraft, landed as scheduled in Berlin's Schönefeld airport. He parked the single-engine bomber where it belonged for the show before it was seized by investigators.

It was not immediately obvious why Davies and his co-pilot didn't land at one of the local airports in the area around Münster.