Jean-Rene Cadorel has sent us this message and photos.
The recent passing of Captain Gordon Jones, super instructor and gentleman, AC retired, prompted me to dig into my dusty files. In 1976, Air Canada leased two DC8s to Cubana de Aviacion and trained the crews. On Thursday March 18th 1976, Gordie Jones was finalising the route checks of 2 Cuban pilots, on the flight from Montreal to Havana.
The incoming DC8 had been cleared for the approach but wasn't told about an Antonov from Cubana, in pilot training, holding at the NDB near Havana-José Martí International Airport (HAV).
The two aircraft met almost head-on, at night, no lights on the twin turboprop. This resulted in the Antonov losing both wings (and unfortunately 5 Cubana pilots), the DC8 losing engine #1, seriously damaging eng #2. damaging the flaps and missing some 10 feet of the left wing tip.
Gordie jumped into the left seat, removing the Cuban pilot, took control, shut down eng #2, assessed the flying abilities of the aircraft and completed the 2-engine landing. The attached photos tell the story. The AC Captain looking at the damage is Vern Ehman, instructor.
I apologize for the quality of the photos. Also included is a picture of Captain Vern Ehman AC with Ernesto Machin, of Cubana.
Keep the blue side up, Captain Jean-Rene Cadorel, AC retired.
(The aircraft was CU-T1200 ex Air Canada fin 811 c/n 45638 CF-TJK. – eds)