Gerald William Spencer

Gerald William Spencer



15 May 1985






Police Constable



Hampshire Constabulary




Duty Status


On Duty

Roll of Honour Citation

Killed when the trial helicopter he was the pilot of crashed.

Edgeley Optica G-KATY was operated by the Hampshire Constabularly Air Support Unit and on the morning of 15 May 1985 it was by PC Spencer who had a Private Pilot Licence and a CAA exemption from their base at Lee-on-Solent Airfield to Ringwood.

DC Malcolm James Victor Wiltshire was authorised to take aerial photographs of traffic congestion in the town, on its market day, from an altitude of between 1000 and 1500 feet. For that purpose it was orbiting the town. It had made three or four such orbits, on the last of which it dropped from its previous operating height to only 100-150 feet. At this height it crossed the A31 road and made a banked turn to starboard.

Almost immediately the angle of bank increased – from about 45º to about 90º – and the nose of the Optica dropped and it spun in, hitting trees at an angle of 70º nose down and 110º to the horizontal and coming to rest 11 metres on. On first impact, the starboard wing tip was torn off the Optica. Then the leading edge of that wing was torn away, exposing the fuel tank in that. Next the cabin struck a tree, extensively damaging the former, and the port wing struck another tree, exposing the fuel tank in that.

Finally the remains of the Optica came to rest. The pierced fuel tanks spilt their contents on the ground and some 20 to 30 seconds afterwards this ignited. The intensity of the subsequent fire was such that it destroyed the forward fuselage of the Optica.

Both officers had been killed on first impact.