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Fatal Accident
Apr 23, '20
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Eye Witness

Ormond Adare Haydon-Baillie died in Germany in a Cavalier F-51 Mustang on July 3, 1977.


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Forty Three Years Since The Death Of The Black Knight

Ormond Haydon-Baillie (“Oh-Bee” to his pals) visited my father a few times in Barbados, and although I have photos of a very small me sitting between the two of them, I don’t really remember the man. Mostly I remember the stories my father told in later years as we looked through the photo albums together.

“Fast and Low”

According to Dad, those were the two words that described OHB the best. Dad also called Haydon-Baillie a“stick and rudder man” – which was about the highest praise Dad ever bestowed upon any pilot. It meant that a pilot was a natural. I only heard him say it about one other man.

Haydon-Baillie died in Germany in a P-51 Mustang on July 3, 1977. I have never been able to discover the real cause of the crash. Some say torque roll got him, but from what Dad said I have a hard time believing that OHB would have put himself in that position. Especially considering that the Sea Fury was a far worse beast for torque roll than the Mustang and OHB had oodles of Sea Fury time. Dad always said that it had to have been “a mechanical” (fault).

Whatever happened on that day, there are many who remember the man and his airplanes. For those who remember the man, and those who appreciate it, here from Dad’s collection is a never-before-seen photo of OHB’s Sea Fury pulling up after a low and over at Duxford around 1975 or so. Dad did NOT have a long lense for this photo and it has not been cropped … (!)


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Klaus Thiessen on April 15, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Klaus Thiessen After watching a TV-documentation about P-51 Mustang-oldtimer-activities my thoughts and memories returned to summer 1977 and Mainz-Finthen Airfield, where I witnessed a P-51 crash. Since I still recalled the pilots name I decided to have a look into the internet and was quite astonished to find so many contributions concerning Ormond Haydon and his last flight. I am a glider pilot and very much interested in aviation, specially in glider- and oldtimer aerobatics. I was 40 years old and being hardly arrived on the airfield, accompanied by 2 of my sons, we saw the yellow Mustang moving ahead right in front of us, ready for takeoff. And all what followed was minutely observed by me and my sons and it still remained conserved in photographic intensity in my memory since that time. The P-51 took off in westerly direction, and soon, at low altitude, turned left for almost 180 degrees, crossed the southern airfield area ineastward direction,still remaining in low altitude (about 100 feet),apparently in order to gain speed. Then abruptly rose up at a pretty steep angle, estimated 40 to 45 degrees. Shortly after the begin of the climb the pilot rolled the plane into a 360° spin and then continued the climb upside down. And then, evidently before he had gained enough height for doing this voluntarily, the plane, still flying upside down,came imto a loop downward. I stared to what was develloping ,just for a short instant expecting a surprising aerobatic trick, but an instant later it was clear: The downward loop could’nt possibly be completed before hitting the ground. And so the Mustang, far by having regained horizontal flying position ran into the forest about a mile away,at an angle of estimated 30 degrees. No fire, no smoke was seen. For me, in this moment it was completely clear, that there had been no chance of survival, whereas a lot of people around us had’nt quite comprehended what had happened until a public anouncement came over,saying that “the worst had to be expected”. Instantly reflecting what I had seen, Iwas quite sure, the plane had suffered a stall due to this steep and not sufficiently fast climb in this inverted flight position. (Only later on, when I heard of the tragedy of the young boy, I wondered whether there might have been possible other additional problems as, for instance, the boy dropping out of his seatbelts in the inverted flight phase, or, an uncontrolled grip to the throttle, or whatsoever technical problem. Anyway, it was quite clear, that the downward loop out of this height could hardly have beena result of an experienced pilots voluntary action. A stall was quite evident.


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The Passenger

Stephen Ratcliffe on June 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

I met Ormond Haydon-Baillie in 1976 or 1977, when working at MTU Muenchen. He visited the firm to hunt for engines (MTU had some licence-built Orendas which might have been suitable for one of his aircraft) and was passed to me – I think perhaps because my German colleagues were at a loss about how to deal with him! He was certainly larger than life, came across as a very cultured personality, very easy to talk to, but very forceful. Gave me some publicity material for his collection which I still have somewhere in store. As a young-minded 26 year old I didn’t have the aggression or the position in the firm to help him with his wishes, though I would have liked to. I did try to research the situation for him, and spoke with Ed Whittering who had been involved with Orenda for MTU at one time. My day with Ormond ended with me driving him to a posh restaurant near Odeonsplatz in Munich where he had an assignation with a German lady of noble descent, I forget her exact name. I think he must have used me to interpret for him. I heard later that he had been killed, but never knew the details until now.

Anonymous on June 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I think the name of the lady you mention might have been Gabrielle Vogler (not sure about the spelling). I have just stumbled across this site, and have many fond memories of assisting OHB both in the UK and in Germany, but thankfully I did not see the crash, being away overseas at the time. It was a great shock to hear of the accident some time well after the event. A true Gentleman, aviator and engineer I feel honoured to have known.

Anonymous on July 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

There was a lady called Gabrielle who was with Ormond for a while until his death in germany, Her father owned a car dealership in Germany. I met her when she came to Duxford, I was a member of his ground crew and talked to Gabrielle as I had spent several years in Germany.

There was a german boy who helped clean the Mustang, He was the one who was killed in the crash. German TV filmed the crash

American Connection

neil rose on May 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm

My young sons and I always called him “Ormond”

his visits to our home ,Portland, Oregon…always

coincided with trips involving “THE SEA FURY”.

I recall getting a phone call from HB saying that he was at the USAF side of the PDX airport.

I dutifully arrived at the main gate…was ushered into the Officers Club…and from the noise I knew HB was holding court.. I was immediatly accosted by an officious Major…with many demanding questions….a real major Fuzz…I asured him

HB was indeed the equivelent of a USAF

Colonel…..The Major suitably impressed

became HB’s lap dog…..at some point HB

told me we HAD TO LEAVE…so a hasty retreat

was put into effect… Upon arrival at our house

my sons immediately put HB through his paces

and stirred up the neighborhood.. The next

morning, back to PDX where his Fury was filled

with fuel and a new battery was installed…

after takeoff a real beatup was performed..and

HB, FURY AND ALL disappeared into the

northern hemisphere….I then inherited the

“lap dog” and ten thousand questions…..I managed

to beat a retreat by offering the excuse that

the Governor of Oregon was waiting to speak

about the RCAF “General”….such was the

turmoil srrounding HB….

I was priveleged to know HB…and think of him

often…it was with disbelief that I learned of

his passing….the result of the canopy rear lock

system…..(I did not have the heart to tell my

sons, until they were in their twenties.)

…in spite of the circumstances it seemed fitting,…

over Germany in a Mustang……

Apr 23, '20
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