1963 BAC One-Eleven test crash
A BAC 1-11 in British Aircraft Corporation livery similar to the accident aircraft.
|Date||22 October 1963|
|Site||Near Chicklade, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
|Aircraft type||BAC One-Eleven200AB|
|Operator||British Aircraft Corporation|
The accident occurred during a test-flight of BAC One-Eleven (registration G-ASHG) which had taken off from Wisley Airfield with seven crew on board, piloted by Mike Lithgow. The BAC One-Eleven was on its fifth test flight to assess stability and handling characteristics during the approach to, and recovery from the stall with a centre of gravity in varying positions. From an altitude of 16,000 feet (4,900 m) with 8° of flaps, the plane entered a stable stall with the aircraft descending at a high rate of descent in a horizontal attitude, eventually striking the ground with very little forward speed. The aircraft broke up and caught fire, killing all seven crew on board at Cratt Hill, near Chicklade, a small village in southern Wiltshire, adjacent to the A303.
The plane was on its fifth stalling test of the day, and the crash occurred 23 minutes after takeoff from Wisley. The crew were Lt. Cdr. M J Lithgow OBE, Chief Test Pilot; Capt. R Rymer (Test Pilot); B J Prior (Aerodynamist); C J Webb (Designer); R A F Wright (Senior Observer); G R Poulter (Observer) and D J Clarke (Observer).
The cause of the accident was due to the aircraft entering a stable stalled condition, recovery from which was impossible, due to the wings blocking the airflow from the elevators on the tail. This was the first accident to be attributed to the phenomenon known as deep stall, peculiar to rear engine T-tailed aircraft.
Once the condition of deep stall was recognized relatively simple preventative measures were introduced, including stick-shakers indicating approaching stall and stick-pushers which physically lower the nose before the stall is reached, while the tailplane and pitch controls are still effective.
In October 2013 a stone memorial was dedicated at the crash site, listing the seven victims. The ceremony was attended by the CO of the Royal Navy Historic Flight, Lord Margadale (the owner of the land), and family members of the crew. The memorial bears a quotation from the annotation of the 1817 edition of a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: '...and everywhere the blue sky belongs to them and is their appointed rest and their native country.'
- Report on the Accident to B.A.C. One-Eleven G-ASHG at Cratt Hill, near Chicklade, Wiltshire on 22nd October 1963, Ministry of Aviation C.A.P. 219, 1965
- Chris von Patzelt, 'BAC ONE-ELEVEN G-ASHG REMEMBERED', Hindon and Chicklade Parish magazine, December 2013, p. 4.