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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 173726
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Date:27-FEB-1948
Time:day
Type:Miles M.65 Gemini Mk 1A
Owner/operator:St. Christopher Travel-Ways Ltd
Registration: G-AJZI
MSN: 6462
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Ridge Park, Wallington, Surrey -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Croydon Airport, Croydon, Surrey (EGCR)
Destination airport:Lyon–Bron Airport, Bron, Lyon (LYN/LFLY)
Narrative:
On February 27 1948, a Miles Gemini charter aircraft registered G-AJZI crashed into the gardens between two houses at Ridge Park, Wallington, Surrey, after hitting trees on high ground south-west of the airport a few minutes after taking off from Croydon Airport. The woman co-pilot, Mrs. Patricia Beverley, was killed and Wing Commander W. H. Wetton, the pilot, was injured. It took Commander Wetton nearly a year to recover from the accident

Fueled for maximum range (820 miles), the Gemini 1A has a maximum payload of 662 lb. The normal payload is 764 lb. However, it is reported that it was flying to Lyon (I assume that the reference to Lyons was an error - and that it wasn't planning a stop at a nearby Corner House!), which is a distance of 450 miles - say, roughly half the maximum range (its ultimate destination was Milan) - where, presumably, it would have refuelled.

So let us assume, for present purposes, that this equated to a safe payload, for this flight, roughly halfway between normal and maximum - say, 710 lb. The draft letter from the MCA avers that the Gemini was 384 lb overweight. So relying upon the premises advanced so far, this puts its actual payload at nearly 1100 lb!

One of the news cuttings refers to there being four on board G-AJZI when it crashed. So let us assume that their average weight was 170 lb each. If so, the weight of the 'human payload' would be about 680 lb, which was some 420 lb less than the actual payload. If so, what accounted for the additional 420 lb on board?

The conclusion reached by the Ministry of Civil Aviation accident investigators was that the Gemini crash was mainly caused due to the overloaded condition (by 384 lbs) of the aircraft, with unfavourable conditions (wind, terrain, trees etc) a contributory factor.

Registration G-AJZI cancelled by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 28 February 1948 as "crashed (destroyed)"

NOTE: The full routing of the aircraft was Elstree-Croydon-Lyon/Bron-Milan. The stopover at Croydon was to pick up passengers, and the stopover at Lyon would have been to refuel.

Sources:

1. El Litoral 27 February 1948, p 1
2. Illustrated London News - Saturday 6 March 1948
3. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11488.0
4. File ref. BT 217/2395 at the National Archives at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C576549
5. File ref. BT 217/2333 at the National Archives at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C576487
6. https://www.key.aero/forum/historic-aviation/125340-wing-commander-william-herbert-wetton
7. https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/394321-croydon-aerodrome-air-safety.html#post5334025
8. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AJZI.pdf
9. https://www.key.aero/forum/historic-aviation/148063-70-years-ago-today


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
11-Feb-2015 12:44 TB Added
05-May-2017 16:01 Dr.John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Dec-2019 19:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
12-Dec-2019 19:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
22-Feb-2020 20:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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