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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 66090
Last updated: 2 December 2021
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Date:26-OCT-1960
Time:day
Type:Miles M.65 Gemini 8
Owner/operator:F.G. Miles Ltd
Registration: G-AKFX
MSN: 6502
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Shoreham Airport, Shoreham, West Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Nature:Executive
Departure airport:Shoreham Airport, Shoreham, West Sussex (EGKA)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Miles M.65 Gemini Mk.8: modified to Miles M.75 Aries standard, with two 155 hp Blackburn Cirrus Major 3 engines, driving Miles-Reed variable-pitch propellers, and provided with enlarged and heightened fins. First civil registered (C of R 11886/1; C of A 9742) on 10-9-47 to Airwork Ltd., London W.1. Sold on and re-registered eight times between September 1947 and October 1960, as follows:

10-9-47: Registered (C of R 11886/1; C of A 9742) to Airwork Ltd., London W.1
2-12-47: Registration cancelled/lapsed upon sale
8-1-68: Re-registered (C of R 11886/2) to Miles Aircraft Ltd., Woodley Aerodrome, Reading, Berkshire
12-1-48: Registration cancelled/lapsed upon sale
23-1-48: Re-registered (C of R 11886/3) to Air Schools Ltd., Derby Airport, Burnaston, Derbyshire
24-1-49: Registration cancelled/lapsed upon sale
15-3-49: Re-registered (C of R 11886/4) to Western Manufacturing Estate Ltd., Woodley Aerodrome, Reading, Berkshire
6-6-50: Registration cancelled/lapsed upon sale
3-7-50: Re-registered (C of R 11886/5) to Bees Flight Ltd., Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight
14-3-55: Registration cancelled/lapsed upon sale
18-3-55: Re-registered (with new C of R R.2490/6) to Southern Flying Schools Ltd., Portsmouth Airport, Portsmouth, Hampshire
2-5-55: Registration cancelled/lapsed upon sale
4-5-55: Re-registered (C of R.2490/7) to Leonard Reginald Snook, Southsea, Hampshire. (Mr. Snook was previously the owner of Miles Gemini G-AKHE, which had crashed on 22-7-53 at Hilsea, Portsmouth)
6-8-59: Registration cancelled/lapsed upon sale
12-8-59: Re-registered (C of R R.2497/8) to F.G.Miles Ltd., Shoreham Airport, Shoreham, West Sussex
26-10-60: Written off (damaged beyond repair) when crashed due to abandoning take off from Shoreham Airport, Shoreham, West Sussex. All three person on board were uninjured.

There are two noteworthy aspects to this incident. The first is that G-AKFX belonged to F.G.Miles, the designer of the Gemini, who had returned to Shoreham after the failure of Miles Aircraft. The second is that the cause of this accident was something which dogged Shoreham Aerodrome until it had a hard runway laid.

For those who know Shoreham Aerodrome, the following will be no surprise. It is located on an area of flat land, at the southern foot of the Downs, near to the coast and bordered by the River Adur to the east. Before it became an aerodrome it was marshy land, criss-crossed by drainage ditches. And even when more drainage work was undertaken, still it suffered from surface water problems - to the extent that, in winter, it could be closed to traffic for weeks - and even when open to traffic, operating from there could be hazardous. Which was exactly the situation on 26 October 1960.

Presumably the pilot of G-AKFX had sought out, amongst the aerodrome's expanse of waterlogged ground, a relatively dry strip facing into wind. But evidently that strip was not as dry as the pilot thought - and hoped - it would be. He began his take off roll but the wet grass made it difficult for him to gain sufficient speed for take off and eventually he decided to abandon that. However presumably he had left this decision rather late. Applying brakes, the Gemini skidded on the wet surface and failed to stop within the space available to it - with the result that it ended up in one of those drainage ditches on the aerodrome perimeter.

A snippet from 'Shoreham Airport - Record of Visiting Aircraft 1946-1970' (Peter Campbell):

'The aerodrome was more or less waterlogged from now [18 October 1960] until 19 January 1961, with very few visiting aircraft, mainly helicopters. 26/10/60: G-AKFX Gemini 8 (locally based a/c, crashed on take-off)'

The CAA records have G-AKFX as destroyed and its registration was cancelled the following month (on 30-11-60). But although it may have been severely damaged, it was not destroyed - which I can say because I photographed its mortal remains at Ford - to where F.G.Miles relocated from Shoreham - the late sixties. According to one source (see link #6) the remains of G-AKFX survived until at least mid-1971 (dumped with the rear fuselage (at least) of Gemini G-AJOJ at Ford).

Sources:

1. Survey of accidents to aircraft in the United Kingdom 1960 / CAA
2. 'Shoreham Airport - Record of Visiting Aircraft 1946-1970' (Peter Campbell)
3. Kites, Birds & Stuff - MILES Aircraft. p.76 By P.D. Stemp
4. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AKFX-1.pdf
5. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AKFX-2.pdf
6. https://www.key.aero/forum/historic-aviation/74980-geminis-and-or-messengers-at-lympne-in-the-1960s
7. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1604.0
8. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=15748.0
9. https://blackbusheairport.proboards.com/thread/679/miles-gemini
10. G-AKFX at Kidlington, Oxford: https://www.airteamimages.com/miles-gemini_G-AKFX_-private_99968_large.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
01-Jul-2009 23:30 VHKDK Added
28-Nov-2012 17:11 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
11-Mar-2014 20:13 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Source, Narrative]
17-Apr-2014 16:19 TB Updated [Total occupants, Location, Nature, Embed code, Narrative]
28-May-2015 09:09 harro Updated [Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
06-Mar-2020 21:46 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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