Accident Report (abstract)
Site of accident: Mount Olympus, Greece
Date of Accident: Approx 250 BC
Aircraft Type: Winged Equine
Injuries: 1 (serious)
Investigator: Glutinous Maximus (Head of Air Ops, Mediterranean Sector)
Date of Report: 14/1/0001
Details of Accident
Considerable delay has occurred between the accident and this
investigation, but the following facts have been established. The aircraft
was a one-off winged equine acquired under mysterious circumstances by
Bellerophon (formerly Hipponoüs), stepson of Glaucus, King of Ephyra.
Prior to the accident, Bellerophon had flown the craft on several
successful missions on behalf of Iobates, King of Lycia. These included
killing the Chimera; conquering the Solymi; subduing the Amazons and
defeating the Iobates' entire army. At the time of the crash he was on a
self-appointed mission to fly "up to the heavens" (also reported as "to the
throne of the gods").
Under the historical tenet of "finders-keepers", the pilot was de facto
owner of the aircraft and had logged over 2000 flying hours (all on type).
At the time of the flight the wind was 180/3 kts and cloud cover was 0/10 at
There was apparently no pre-flight inspection (divine waiver). The aircraft
was controlled solely by means of a golden bridle supplied to Bellerophon
by former accomplice Athena. This was never recovered, but there were no
previous reports of bridle-faults. On the day of the accident witnesses
reported the aircraft to have successfully taken off from Iobates' private
airstrip in Lycia, the pilot having earlier boasted that he would fly "to
the heavens" on what was possibly a publicity stunt. No flight-plan had
been filed with Lycian authorities and the mission had not been personally
approved by Iobates. There were no other manned aircraft in Lycia at the
The maximum airspeed of the craft is unknown. The duration of the doomed
flight is unknown. The altitude at the time of the incident is unknown, but
was low enough that the pilot sustained serious, but not fatal, injuries.
On the final approach to Mount Olympus, the aircraft was observed to buck
and pitch uncontrollably, immediately ejecting the pilot. The pilot-less
aircraft apparently resumed its previous course and setting under autopilot
and landed safely on Mount Olympus.
The pilot achieved terminal velocity and hit the ground approximately 2
miles from Mount Olympus. He did not die upon impact, but escaped with
serious injuries. He was denied medical treatment due to "crimes of
arrogance against the gods" (or lack of insurance) and apparently wandered
alone, crippled, blind and humiliated, until he died anonymously an
undisclosed period of time later.
Note: Upon landing at Mount Olympus, the Pegasus aircraft was
claimed as salvage by Zeus who, for a time, used it for carrying shipments
of thunderbolts. The change from passenger carrier to cargo carrier was not
formally registered. Zeus finally disposed of the aircraft among "the
Analysis of Accident
Despite the elapsed time and total absence of surviving physical evidence
it is felt that insufficient information exists to infer the exact sequence
of events and the cause of the accident. However, numerous eye-witness
reports were filed at the time and statements were taken from the residents
of nearby Mount Olympus. The statements contained some discrepancies, but
these are very minor.
Reports indicate that Zeus, ruler of Mount Olympus, had fired (or had
authorised the firing of) a "bolt of lightning at the craft as it tried to
enter Olympian airspace. Lightning strike cannot be ruled out. The earlier
loss of directional and altitude control is consistent with electro-magnetic
interference to an inadequately shielded control system.
Bellerophon's sons Isander and Hippoclochus claimed that it was an act of
terrorism by Zeus who headed a loose alliance known as "The Pantheon of The
Gods of Olympus".
It has also been widely reported that Zeus had employed an insect, possibly
a gadfly, to either sting or bite Pegasus, causing it to spontaneously
eject the pilot. In the absence of physical evidence, this explanation
cannot be ruled out.
The pilot was not wearing a flight safety harness or any other form of
restraint. He was not equipped with a parachute.
Some accident reports erroneously cited Perseus as the rider of Pegasus for
some of the Iobates missions. The confusion apparently arose following a
fictionalised version of the incident in the 20th Century docu-drama "Clash
of the Titans".
The direct cause of the accident was an Olympian air-strike against a
Lycian aircraft illegally entering Olympian airspace. There is no record of
Zeus issuing a warning prior to firing.
The severity of injury was due to a highly experienced pilot performing a
stunt with inadequate safety precautions and no technical or medical
support. In addition, Pegasus was not fitted with a radio or a transponder
or a cockpit voice recorder.
This illustrates some of the problems of flying a one-off airframe of
poorly documented origins. Pegasus had reportedly been manufactured from
the blood of the neck of Medusa (Gorgon) who had been decapitated by
Perseus on the orders of King Polydectes. Bellerophon had apparently
"acquired" the aircraft while it was parked unattended at Mount Helicon in
Boeotia. To effect the appropriation of the craft he had used equipment
supplied by an accomplice, Athena. The aircraft was not reported stolen,
but it is surprising that Bellerophon was allowed to continue flying it. He
was a known criminal who had already changed his name from Hipponoüs
after murdering a countryman and had fled his home country. He had been
granted political asylum by Lycia.
Bellerophon left a widow, 2 sons and 2 daughters.