Culdrose Air Day Crash Pilot Awarded

Lieutenant Commander Chris Götke has been given the Air Force Cross after safely bringing down the Sea Fury T20 which lost power at Air Day 2014

The Royal Navy Pilot was flying a Sea Fury T20 as part of the Historic Flight display at the 2014 Air Day when the plane began to lose power during his aerobatic display.

As a crowd of over 21,000 people watched, the Sea Fury began billowing smoke and started to lose altitude rapidly leaving Lt Cdr Götke with the choice of bailing out or staying with the aircraft.

Lieutenant Commander Chris Götke says "For about 15 seconds I felt pure terror".

Despite the loss of the engine, he managed to safely bring the plane down onto the grass, just off the runway at RNAS Culdrose.

The aircraft sustained only minor external damage while Lt Cdr Gotke had no significant injuries.

He is the Commanding Officer of the Historic Flight based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, and said "I am honoured to be awarded the Air Force Cross,  I was shocked but extremely pleased when I was told".



His citation reads: His extraordinary and instinctive flying skills prevented the very real chance of a catastrophic civilian loss of life and minimised damage to a historically important aircraft in one of the finest examples of gallantry in the air during peacetime.

The Air Force Cross is a military decoration awarded for an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy.  The medal is a silver cross representing aircraft propeller blades, with wings between the arms.

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