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Last updated: 8 December 2021
Date:Wednesday 6 November 1957
Type:Bristol 175 Britannia 301
Operator:UK Ministry of Supply
Registration: G-ANCA
MSN: 12917
First flight: 1956
Total airframe hrs:721
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 11
Total:Fatalities: 15 / Occupants: 15
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Downend (   United Kingdom)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Filton Airport (FZO/EGTG), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Filton Airport (FZO/EGTG), United Kingdom
The Bristol 175 had just completed a test flight of 1 and 40 minutes. Tests included a strain-gauge measurements on the non-standard propeller of the no. 2 engine, and high speed upset manoeuvre recovery tests in connection with the US certification. Returning to Filton, the aircraft entered a circuit and partial gear extensions occurred for unknown reasons. Attempts may have been made to complete undercarriage free fall tests as these had failed the previous day; such test were not on the programme however. At 1500 feet a left turn to base leg was initiated. The right wing suddenly dropped and the aircraft went into a very steeply banked right hand turn. The Britannia briefly recovered but banked steeply again and struck the ground in a wood near a residential area.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident was the result of the aircraft developing a very steep descending turn to the right which the pilot was unable to control. The reason for this could not be determined, but the possibility that it occurred as the result of malfunctioning of the autopilot cannot be dismissed."

Loss of control

» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 62-AN/57 (19-22)


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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Bristol Britannia

  • 85 built
  • 2nd loss
  • The first fatal accident
  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 5th worst accident (currently)
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 United Kingdom
  • 22nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 36th worst accident (currently)
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