Narrative:The Bristol 170 aircraft was being operated by Manx Airlines on a flight from the Isle Of Man (IOM) to Manchester (MAN). Prior to take-off, in order to avoid delay, a clearance to fly at 1500 ft was offered and accepted. In the light of past experience the captain anticipated that he would be cleared to a higher
altitude on crossing the English coast. Between Ronaldsway and the Reporting Point at Squire's Gate the flight was made below cloud practically all the way. Visibility was reasonably good. The captain went below to talk to the passengers for approximately a five minute period. During his absence the first officer set the radio compass on what he thought was Wigan Beacon, but, was in fact Oldham Beacon. The Oldham Beacon is a more powerful NDB with a morse recognition signal 'MYL'. Wigan NDB has a recognition signal 'MYK'. On his return to the cockpit the captain took over the piloting of the aircraft. He assumed
that the radio compass was tuned in to Wigan. Just prior to 09:38 hours the aircraft reported to Preston Control "abeam Blackpool at this time estimating Wigan at 43". At 09:39 the Preston controller radioed: "You are cleared to Wigan 1500 feet remaining contact. Call Manchester Zone for onward clearance."
At 09:44, one minute after it would have been over the Wigan NDB, the flight was in cloud and out of contact with the ground. A message from Manchester
Control at this time was, "Charlie Sierra will you make a right turn immediately on to a heading of two five zero. I have a faint paint on radar which indicates you're going over towards the hills. " Shortly thereafter in the course of making the right turn as ordered, the aircraft crashed on the northeast slope of Winter
Hill, at a height of approximately 1460 ft.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The error of the first officer in tuning the radio compass on Oldham Beacon instead of on Wigan Beacon. A contributory cause was the
failure of the captain to check that the radio compass was tuned on the correct beacon."
» ICAO Accident Digest, Circular 59-AN/54 (83-92)
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Isle Of Man-Ronaldsway Airport to Manchester International Airport as the crow flies is 173 km (108 miles).