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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 137397
Last updated: 7 December 2021
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Date:15-OCT-1958
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic GNAT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Folland Gnat F.1 Prototype
Owner/operator:A&AEE Boscombe Down (Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment Boscombe Down)
Registration: XK767
MSN: FL.6
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Stapleford, 4 miles North of Wilton, Wiltshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Test
Departure airport:Boscombe Down Wiltshire (EGDM)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Folland Gnat F.Mk.1 XK767; Written off (destroyed) 15/10/58 - Loss of control six minutes after take off from Boscombe Down, when the aircraft entered a steep climb due to seizure of the flying control relay valve. Purpose of test flight was to study handling characteristics of aircraft at low speed in event of tailplane electric trimmer failure.

All Gnats were grounded as a result of this crash. Gnat XK767 crashed into a field at Stapleford, 4 miles North of Wilton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire. Pilot (Squadron Leader Ernest John "Red" Roberts, AFC, A&AEE Boscombe Down Test Pilot) ejected, but was unable to leave the custom-designed SAAB/Folland ejector seat, due to the failure of the harness release, and was killed on impact when he struck the ground.

The reported crash location of Stapleford is a village and civil parish about 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Wilton, Wiltshire, England. The village is on the River Till just above its confluence with the River Wylye.

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.197 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft XA100-XZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 2001 p 52)
3. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/404: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C424505
4. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=XK
5. http://web.archive.org/web/20121025182700/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/Aircraft_by_Type/Folland_Gnat.htm
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folland_Gnat#Accidents_and_incidents
7. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1958.htm
8. https://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/memorial/entry.php?id=258
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stapleford,_Wiltshire

Media:

Folland lightweight automatic ejection seat from a Folland Gnat. Photographed at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford 13 November 2015: Folland Gnat ejector seat

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
13-Jul-2011 11:52 Dr.John Smith Added
14-Jul-2011 11:53 Dr.John Smith Updated [Registration, Cn, Source, Narrative]
10-Jun-2013 12:22 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source]
19-Oct-2014 17:30 Route Updated [Operator]
25-Jan-2020 18:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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