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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 58293
Last updated: 30 July 2020
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Date:25-MAR-1957
Time:night
Type:Silhouette image of generic HUNT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hawker Hunter F Mk 4
Owner/operator:222 (Natal) Squadron Royal Air Force (222 (Natal) Sqn RAF)
Registration: WV388
C/n / msn: 41H-670834
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:North of Bell Rock Lighthouse, 11 miles east of RAF Leuchars, Fife -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Leuchars, Fife (ADX/EGQL)
Destination airport:RAF Leuchars, Fife (ADX/EGQL)
Narrative:
Hawker Hunter F.Mk.4 WV388: First flown 16/8/1955 at Hawker Aircraft Ltd., Dunsfold, Surrey. Delivered to the RAF 16/9/1955. Sole Operational service career was as "R" of 222 (Natal) Squadron, RAF.

Written off (destroyed) 25/3/1957: Crashed into the sea north of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, eleven miles east of Leuchars, Fife during a night GCA (Ground Controlled Approach) on the night of 25-26/3/57. The aircraft was carrying out a QGH/GCA (Ground Controlled Approach) to RAF Leuchars, from an altitude of 20,000 feet. All was going well until the aircraft was at 1,500 feet and eleven miles out from RAF Leuchars. Hunter WV388 then disappeared off the radar, and crashed into the sea North of Bell Rock Lighthouse.

The cause of the accident was not fully established by the RAF Board of Inquiry, but it was known that the pilot had limited night flying experience, the weather was poor, and the pilot may have "gone visual" (that is, gone from IFR (Instrument Flight Rating) flying to VFR (Visual Flight Rules)) too early. The pilot was killed. According to an article in the RAF Museum's Historical Journal on the subject of the RAF's Rescue Sea Launches (RSLs):

"On 26 March 1957, a Hunter F.4, WV388 of No 222 Sqn, crashed north of the Bell Rock on its approach to Leuchars. RSLs 1651 and 1652 carried out an extensive search through the night and all the next day, but they found no trace of the pilot, Flying Officer R J Davidson. On the 27 August a memorial service was held in the vicinity of the crash attended by RSLs 1651 and 1652."

Crew of Hunter WV388:
Flying Officer Raymond John Davidson, RAF (pilot, Service Number 2620011, aged 23)

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.188 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 98)
3. Category Five; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings p.239
4. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1957.htm
5. https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documents/research/RAF-Historical-Society-Journals/Journal-34-Peter-Hennessey-on-The-Secret-State-plus-misc.pdf p.81
6. http://www.planetrace.co.uk/1950-1959_26.html
7. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WV


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
10-Jan-2009 11:55 ASN archive Added
11-Mar-2012 19:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
16-Aug-2012 08:33 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location]
29-May-2013 13:39 Nepa Updated [Operator]
22-Jun-2020 17:46 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Jul-2020 21:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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