Pilot Killed, Two Others Injured When Rare de Havilland Venom Crashes On Takeoff In Wisconsin

posted in: Warbirds | 15

Marty Tibbitts Killed In DH-112 Venom Crash - Sheboygan WI

Pilot Marty Tibbitts was killed on Friday when his de Havilland DH-112 Venom aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff. Marty was on a formation training flight when the accident occurred. The aircraft crashed into a barn near the airport, killing dozens of livestock and injuring two people on the ground.

The Venom, along with a de Havilland Vampire and rare Gloster Meteor, was to be a featured performer at EAA AirVenture 2018 in Oshkosh, WI. All three are owned by the World Heritage Air Museum, based out of Detroit, Michigan. The formation training flight was in preparation for the show.

The Venom is a Cold War-era British jet which served with the Royal Air Force as a single-seat bomber and a two-seat night fighter. According to the World Heritage Air Museum, there are only 4-6 flying Venoms in the world, including the one they had. The aircraft was the only one of its type flying in the US.

Sadly, we filmed Marty flying the Venom just one week before the crash. We present this video in his memory. May he rest in peace.

15 Responses

  1. Adam Santic

    Sad news! Will the Gloster Meteor and the Vampire still be appearing at EAA AirVenture OSH18 from the World Heritage Air Museum or did they cancel due to the incident?

  2. Barry Kent

    I saw an accident at Biggin Hill a few years back when a vampire was flying in formation with a Sea Vixen and the cause was due to the Vampire being caught in the jetwash of the larger aircraft.

  3. Peter

    Sad day.

    Most if not all the Venoms in US came from Aces High via Warbirds Inc in Middlebury Vermont back in the day. I believe there was 5 total. Mr. Tibberts aircraft was initially sold and owned by Jim Goodwin at Middlebury in original paint, then painted gloss camo and sold again a few years later.
    Interesting start sequence shown in the video. There are two start cartridges, the second one being for a second start, or to cool it if the first start fails and it trys to overheat. Very odd to see puffs of smoke after the initial start blast – as if he hit the second cartridge to boost the start maybe? Not sure what the battery cart was for either unless a bunch of avionics had been added. A single D cell battery will ignite the start cartridge.

    • AL

      A really hard landing a week before a crash. broken fuel line clamp?, etc. Hmm…

  4. AL

    A really hard landing a week before a crash. broken fuel line clamp?, etc. Hmm…

  5. George Dubick

    I was 1/2 owner of a Venom we bought from Dean Martin Warplanes, Burlington, VT in 1986. The “double start” was probably initiated by the pilot recognizing a slow start and instead he probably raised the guard for the cartridge initiation to insure he had ignition and pressed the button which shot off the second cartridge. (That safety cover was nicknamed “the toilet seat’ as that’s what it looked like.) This could have been avoided if the second cartridge was not installed. The correct thing to do would have been to hit the ignition button on the throttle/thrust lever instead. I did this once myself at an airshow with the result that even though the engine came up to Idle power, I had over sped the starter which we had to replace. Cartridge ignition was off the ship’s battery and the igniter sparking noise was very obvious on startup, the lack thereof may have precipitated a second ignition attempt, which happened in my case. georgedubick.com

  6. John

    In the DH 112 there is a built in 15 second delay in the starting system before the second cartridge can be fired.

  7. De

    John is correct, the multiple smoke plumes can be attributed to the stop – start irregular burning of the black powder in the cartridge. Most are very old. The starting system does not allow both cartridges to be fired simultaneously.

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