SEPECAT Jaguar GR1A XX732 of No.226 Operational Conversion Unit, RAF, crashed on Stock Hill, near Hawick, on the 27th November 1986


Sepecat Jaguar XX732, No.54 Squadron, Husum, Germany, October 1979
XX732 seen in October 1979 while with No.54 Squadron. The photograph was taken at Husum Air Force Base in Germany during an exercise. Image via Titanium Rain, via
David Ronald Buteau Jr Captain, USAF Pilot Killed


Captain Buteau was a United States Air Force officer taking part in the Officer Exchange programme with the RAF. Before entering the Officer Exchange programme he was a flying instructor on the T-38 Talon. As part of the exchange programme he was flying the Sepecat Jaguar at No.226 Operational Conversion Unit as an instructor.

At 12:35 on the 27th November 1986 he took off from RAF Lossiemouth near Elgin for a low level training flight. Thirty minutes later the aircraft passed over the range at Spadeadam near Haltwhistle heading west, it was then intermittently tracked by radar for another ten minutes. During that time the aircraft turned on to a northerly heading which was away from the planned route.

When no further contact was made with Captain Buteau by 14:00 the aircraft was declared as overdue and a search was started. At 20:45 the same night the wreckage of the aircraft was located on high ground to the South West of Hawick in the Borders, and 25 miles North West of Spadeadam, with confirmation that Captain Buteau had been killed in the crash.

From the available evidence it was concluded that having turned on to a northerly heading Capt Buteau would have faced deteriorating weather condition which would prevent a low level route being followed. After climbing the aircraft then entered a descent, at an estimated 20 degrees, levelling shortly before it impacted on Stock Hill. The aircraft gouged a large crater at the point of impact and then broke up scattering wreckage over a large area of forestry land.


We visited the crash site, along with a large contingent from Air Crash Investigation and Archaeology, on the 30th anniversary of the crash on the 27th November 2016. At the time the forestry plantation had not been touched since the crash so a large amount of the aircraft was scattered over a large area of the forest. Below is  gallery showing some of the hundreds of photographs taken that day.