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Narrative:16063 Plt Off Charles H. A. Stevens (14 Dec 1901-12 Nov 1986) had graduated from RA Cranwell in August 1922 and was on his first operational posting, to Kenley based 24 Squadron.
|Owner/operator:||24 Squadron Royal Air Force (24 Sqn RAF)|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1|
|Aircraft damage:|| Substantial|
|Location:||Ladywell Recreation Ground, Lewisham -
|Phase:|| En route|
|Departure airport:||RAF Kenley|
|Destination airport:||RAF Kenley, London|
|Confidence Rating:|| Accident investigation report completed and information captured|
On 20 Jan 1923, Stevens was undertaking a cross country flight when he suffered engine failure and force-landed on Tooting Bec Common. Able to restart his engine, Stevens took off again but only made it as far as Ladywell Recreation Ground at Lewisham, a distance of approximately 5.5 miles, when his engine failed again.
Stevens clipped some trees and then hit an elm, which flipped the aircraft upside down. The Bristol came to rest inverted with one wing in a stream. Stevens was rescued by staff of Lewisham Hospital which bordered the park, and was admitted with a broken nose.
The enquiry initially found three factors at fault:
1. The careless manner in which the aircraft was filled with petrol,
2. A more thorough examination of the petrol system should have been undertaken before the aircraft left Tooting Bec Common, and
3. The pilot should have insisted on a reason being found for the forced landing at Tooting Bec Common before taking off again.
However, the AOC Inland Area disagreed, considering there was insufficient evidence to prove that the engine failure was the result of petrol flow or filling the engine. The AOC considered instead that the probable cause was sticking valve stems.
1. F.S. Form 559 Casualty Card, C. H. A. Stevens, RAF Museum, http://www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk/archive/stevens-c.h.a.-charles-herbert-algernon
(rtrvd Jun 22)
(rtrvd Jun 22)
3. Aberdeen Journal, 22 Jan 1923
4. Hull Daily Mail, 20 Jan 1923
5. Sunday Times, 21 Jan 1923
6. The Telegraph, 22 Jan 1923
||Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Operator]|