1958 Syerston Avro Vulcan crash

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1958 Syerston Avro Vulcan crash
VX770 in flight
Accident summary
Date 20 September 1958 (1958-09-20)
Summary Pilot error, structural failure
Site RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire
53°1′22.49″N 0°54′45.51″W / 53.0229139°N 0.9126417°W / 53.0229139; -0.9126417Coordinates: 53°1′22.49″N 0°54′45.51″W / 53.0229139°N 0.9126417°W / 53.0229139; -0.9126417
Passengers 1
Crew 3
Injuries (non-fatal) 3 (on ground)
Fatalities 7 (3 on ground)
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Avro Vulcan (prototype)
Operator Rolls-Royce Limited
Registration VX770
Flight origin Hucknall airfield
Destination Hucknall airfield
Syerstonprog1958.jpg

The 1958 Syerston Avro Vulcan crash was a military aviation accident that occurred in England on 20 September 1958 during an air show at RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire when a prototype Avro Vulcan bomber crashed. All four crew on board and three people on the ground were killed.[1]

Flight

On the day of the accident VX770 was flying from the Rolls-Royce airfield at Hucknall, with four crew on board, including a flight test engineer from Avro, carrying out performance tests on the Rolls-Royce Conway engines that had been fitted in place of the Sapphires and Avons originally fitted. During the course of the test-flight VX770 diverted to RAF Syerston to participate in the Battle of Britain day air show.[2]

Accident

The Vulcan flew along runway 07 then started a rolling climb to starboard. During this manoeuvre the starboard wing disintegrated, resulting in a collapse of the main spar and wing structure.[3] The Vulcan went into a dive with the starboard wing on fire and struck the ground. Three occupants of a controllers' caravan were killed by debris, all four of the Vulcan crew were also killed. Three servicemen who were in an ambulance were also injured by debris from the crash.[1]

Cause

The official primary cause for the accident was a gross structural failure of the aircraft's main spar, which was confirmed by amateur footage, photographs and eyewitness accounts. The reason for the failure was not determined by the Board of Inquiry, but it was suggested that the main cause was that the pilot, upon performing the planned aerobatic display, exceeded the prototype's briefed speed and turning rate limits.[1] Tony Blackman argues that the maintenance crew failed to properly inspect the aircraft for known issues with stress damage to the aircraft's leading edges and structural ribs, which had been observed in another prototype he had flown earlier.[4]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Stevenson, Keith. "Vulcan Crash". Archived from the original on 2012-12-17. Retrieved 17 December 2012.  Citing BT 233/403
  2. ^ Blackman, p. 151
  3. ^ Blackman, p.151
  4. ^ Blackman, p. 152-153

Bibliography

External links