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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 163751
Last updated: 22 October 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic LANC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro Lancaster Mk I
Owner/operator:A&AEE (Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment )
Registration: R5539
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:2 mls NE of Malmesbury, Wiltshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Unknown
Departure airport:Boscombe Down
Destination airport:Boscombe Down
Wing Commander P S Salter, Squadron Leader J D Harris, Flight Lieutenant N G Wilson, Pilot Officer P F Wakelin, Sergeant K J Jones: killed; Lancaster R5539, Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment, aircraft accident, crashed near Chalton, Malmesbury, Wilstshire, 18 April 1942

This test flight followed a crash of a Lancaster that had suffered a loss of a section of wing paneling on its return to England from a bombing raid on Germany. All the Lancaster aircraft at that time were brand new Lancaster 1s. The crashes were caused by faulty design of the skin/rivets on the upper wind out section. This resulted in all the Lancaster in service at that time being taken off operations and confined to navigation and night flying training flights over the UK. No. 97 Squadron March 26th 1942. See references for discovery.nationalarchives below

The Lancaster had taken off from Boscombe Down with a simulated full bomb load of concrete bombs to carry out diving trials from 13,000ft down to 5,000ft at various engine settings.
Witnesses saw the Lancaster emerge from cloud in a slight dive, then roll onto its back and right itself before diving steeply into the ground at very high speed. A subsequent investigation revealed that a panel just over 5 feet by 2 feet had come away from behind the outboard engine due to the failure of the rivets holding it in place. This panel then hit the tailplane and the aircraft had then gone out of control.


Revision history:

09-Feb-2014 14:10 harro Added
19-Oct-2014 17:25 Route Updated [Operator]
29-Sep-2020 19:53 Peter L Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source, Narrative]

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