Experts shed light on Derbyshire ‘ghost plane’

Image from Pixabay.
Image from Pixabay.
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Aviation experts have shed some light on the famous Derbyshire ‘ghost plane’.

In the last few weeks eye witnesses have reported sightings of a large, silent aircraft across the county.

It has been suggested the phantom plane - which was also seen in 2015 - is a Douglas Dakota - a military transport aircraft used during the Second World War.

However, no definite explanations have been put forward.

Steve Slater, chief executive of the Light Aircraft Association, said: “There were of course sadly, quite a significant number of aircraft crashes (over 50) in the southern Pennines during the Second World War and even thereafter.

“Most notably a BEA Douglas DC-3 crashed on Saddleworth Moor on 19 August 1949, with 24 of the 32 occupants being killed.

“It is not too surprising therefore that for several years, ghost stories have abounded.

“There are still a number of DC-3 aircraft still flying in the UK, although these days these carefully preserved veterans are normally only flown in the summer months.

“Most are likely at the moment in ‘winter maintenance’.

He added: “More prosaically, the current generation of light sport aircraft are much better silenced than their predecessors, and it may be that one of these on a light throttle, may well fulfil the ‘near silent’ progress mentioned by the witnesses.

”Also given the aircraft may have been white, with a large wingspan, it may well be a glider, possibly on a flight from Derbyshire and Lancashire gliding club at Camphill, but possibly thereafter making a ‘field landing’ after circling in thermals on an attempted cross-country flight. This is quite standard practice for glider pilots, but often surprises onlookers.”

The Derbyshire Times has been inundated with calls and letters regarding apparent sightings of the plane.

Resident Barry Shipman said he saw a glimpse of the plan when he was in Matlock about three weeks ago.

He said: “It looked just like a Dakota and it had got a semi-camouflage on it.

“The starboard wing was dipping low.

“I thought to myself ‘who could be so foolish to bring that plane down so low?’.

“I could not hear any engine noise.

“I was so surprised by it.”

In a letter, fellow resident Eileen Nuttall, wrote: “I had been shopping at Peak Village and was about to cross from the shops to the car park when I heard an unusual sound and a plane came just above tree top height from my right which would be in the direction of Beeley. It was completely unmarked and painted a muddy green colour with two propellers and very sweet sounding engines. Certainly not a ghost.”

*Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk.