So here we have some very old footage dating back from August the 26th, 1976, when I was just a wink in a nightclub. The footage shows Richard Wyatt, at the time a news reporter for HTV, which is a regional TV station covering Wales, getting hit by a small plane.
The summer of 1976 saw drought conditions throughout much of the UK, so having finished reporting on the drought in a barren area of parched grassland, the news crew decided to film a time filler about the forthcoming Weston Super-Mare airshow, due to be held the following day.
The aircraft seen in the footage was using the area as a practice site. The idea was that the pilot would fly in very low and drop bags of flour on an ‘X’ in front of the crowd as part of his display routine. The sound engineer thought it would be great to film Richard introducing the airshow while the aircraft did a low pass behind him, releasing the flour on the target.
Unfortunately, although the pilot successfully managed to release the bags of flour, he misjudged his approach and slammed the reporter on the side of the head with his right-hand wing. Richard Wyatt was knocked out cold.
Fortunately, there was an ambulance already on scene in case anything happened to the practicing aircraft, and Richard was packed up and thrown into the back, at this time coming round and mumbling to himself. He spent a night in hospital and was released the next day, unbelievably with only slight cuts and bruising.
In my research for this video, I came across some information regarding the damage caused to the aircraft during this incident. An engineer showed part of the leading edge of the wing (the leading edge is the front-most part of the wing which first meets the air) and it shows that the wooden spar which makes up this component of the wing is totally split and had to be replaced.
Richard Wyatt made a full recovery. He retired from the BBC in 2007 to pursue further academic studies. He is now 65 years old.
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