Gear-up landing Accident Hawker Hunter FGA Mk 9 XE535,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 144717
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Date:Friday 28 December 1962
Type:Silhouette image of generic HUNT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Hawker Hunter FGA Mk 9
Owner/operator:28 Sqn RAF
Registration: XE535
MSN: 41H/679913
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Lion Rock Ridge, 2 miles NNW of RAF Kai Tak -   Hong Kong
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:RAF Kai Tai, Hong Kong (HKG/VHKT)
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Flew into the Northern Slopes of Lion Rock Ridge, two miles NNW of Kai Tak, Hong Kong 12 minutes after take off, killing the pilot. Per eyewitness report:

"I was running the line that day and strapped Fl/Lt D.G. Crichton into XE535 for the last flight of the day (year). The gunnery officer landed in one of the other aircraft and came over to say that there was thick fog over the sea and to stay local. Fl/Lt Crichton asked me if the aircraft was fitted with a brake chute to which I replied 'no' and the aircraft taxied out. After take-off he stayed local and did some aerobatics over the airfield before going up-country.

On the ground we were all sat in the sunshine waiting for the aircraft to return and everything not required had been stowed away for the Christmas break. After a while we heard the aircraft approaching from behind the ridge at Lion Rock and watched to see it pop over the ridge for a fast run over the airfield. Only it didn't pop over the ridge; there was a huge explosion and a pall of black smoke from the other side of the ridge. I scanned the sky for a parachute hoping the pilot had ejected but there was none.

The RHKAAF helicopter was launched immediately and flew over the ridge to the crash site and returned to say that there was no sign of life. Guards were flown up by helicopter and stayed there overnight until we climbed up there early next morning to start the investigation. We took up everything we thought we would require; I remember I had a 4 ½ gall jerry can of water strapped to my back.

The crash site was about 200 feet below the top of the ridge and was a hole in the mountainside surrounded by various bits of metal. The Cpl airframe fitter had previous Hunter experience and his aim was to find the flapjacks and tail plane actuator. The rest of us just cleaned up the mess and it was bagged up and sent down to base by helicopter. We eventually found the flapjacks, which were in the extended position and the tail plane actuator, which was fully nose up. The airframe guy then explained to me his theory that, having been doing aerobatics prior to the accident, if the flaps were inadvertently left down, the faster the aircraft went it would eventually run out of nose up trim with the inevitable consequences. This turned out to be the case and was the reason put down by the board of enquiry as the cause of the accident. The pilot was due to fly back to the UK with his family at the same time as me. I believe his father was an Air Commodore. The funeral was held at the military cemetery on HK Island with full guard of honour and firing party."

Flt Lt D.G. Chrichton had, just over two weeks earlier, on 10/12/1962, belly landed another 28 Squadron Hawker Hunter at RAF Kai Tak. On that occasion, neither the aircraft or pilot sustained any serious or lasting damage.

Sources: [front page of the "South China Morning Post" for Dec 29

Revision history:

30-Mar-2012 11:00 Dr. John Smith Added
19-Aug-2012 13:14 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Source]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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