Farnborough Air Show Disaster

BOOK SURREY HOTELS

History on 6th September


Britains 1st free Library opens

Munich Olympics Terror

Farnborough Air Show Disaster

Farnborough, Surrey The 6th of September 1952 AD

Such was the strength of the British aviation industry post- WWII that still in 1952 only British-built aircraft were shown at the Farnborough Air Show. Though the major highlight for most enthusiasts was to be a glimpse of the shiny new Vulcan bomber, other aircraft generated great interest, including the doomed Princess Flying Boat, the Gloster Javelin, and the De Havilland DH-110 fighter prototype.
The DH-110 was still in development. Piloted by John Derry, the second version, WG240, had to turn back to Hatfield because of technical problems, much to the disappointment of a crowd numbering about 125,000. They were delighted, however, when the first prototype, WG236, replaced it, again piloted by Derry, the first Briton to break the sound barrier. After a run where the silver machine broke the sound barrier as hoped, it banked left at about 500mph and headed towards ‘observation hill’, where the majority of spectators were standing.
Suddenly the crowd saw the outer sections of both wings break off, then the two Rolls Royce Avon engines separated from the wings; the rest of the airplane rapidly disintegrated in mid-air. One engine fell in the coach-park area; the other ploughed into the main crowd; the cockpit smashed into more spectators, and the fuselage struck near the marquee of the President of the Royal Aeronautical Society. In all 31 died, including the pilot and his observer; there were also more than 60 injured.
Investigations found faulty wing design had caused the break-up of the plane. Following the disaster the rules for aircraft displays in Britain were changed radically to avoid the recurrence of such an event.

More famous dates here

11969 views since 3rd September 2010

Brit Quote:
I used to look at these pictures of trumpeters pointing their instrument to the ceiling. Stunning pictures, but if you play the trumpet and point it upwards, all the spit comes back into your mouth! - Humphrey Lyttleton
More Quotes

On this day:
First Non-Stop Transatlantic Jet Flight - 1950, Launch of ITV - 1955, 10 Soldiers killed by IRA bomb attack in Deal - 1989
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages