ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 27081
Last updated: 25 February 2017
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Narrative:A3-28 (ex-RAF E3743): Avro 504K. Allotted by RAF to Australia 15/10/18. Delivered from Manchester to No 6 Stores Depot at Ascot by 30/11/18 for packing and dispatch. Departed England 24/12/18 on SS Barambah. Arrived Melbourne 14/02/19, received CFS ARS 25/04/19.
|Owner/operator:||1 FTS, RAAF|
|C/n / msn:|| E3743|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||RAAF Point Cook, Melbourne, Victoria -
|Departure airport:||RAAF Point Cook, Melbourne, Victoria|
|Destination airport:||RAAF Point Cook, Melbourne, Victoria|
To CFS ‘A’ Flt, to ARS 11/11/19; Possibly used by AAC for Second Peace Loan 30/08/20. To storage 10/02/21. To AAF 31/03/21. To 1 FTS ‘C’ Flt 17/10/21 as A3-28.
Reconditioned 19/06/23, in use 1 FTS over 1923-1925. Damaged landing 11/02/25 (crew Lt V E Kennedy). Written off when crashed 25/03/25 at RAAF Point Cook, Melbourne, Victoria. One of the crew, Flying Officer Stuart E Mailer (QFI, in charge) was killed. The other, Flying Officer Alan M Charlesworth (Student pilot) was only slightly injured, when the Avro 504K stalled and spun on approach, into a paddock at the rear of the hangars at the airfield.
As a result of this crash, Flying Officer Stuart Mailer had the unfortunate distinction of being the first officer of the RAAF to be killed in the new service. According to contemporary newspapers and subsequent published reports:
"Rising to 2,000 feet they made what Charlesworth would describe as “three good” landings. But on the fourth attempt things went terribly wrong. Sitting in the rear seat, Charlesworth was in control being instructed by Mailer through the speaking tubes. At 400 feet, half-a-mile from the hangar and coming in to land for the final time, Charlesworth shut off the engine allowing the aircraft to glide while turning to the left in a 45 degree bank into the wind. But suddenly at 300 feet, the nose began to drop and before Mailer had time to gain control, the plane was in a fearful dive to destruction just a few hundred yards from the outermost hangar.
Mailer took the full brunt of the impact receiving a fractured skull as well as horrific leg, arm and body injuries; his body was crushed into an almost unrecognisable heap while Charlesworth had a miraculous escape from death being saved by his safety belt. He walked away with a sprained ankle, face lacerations and shock (“the rescuers had difficulty in making him lie down until an ambulance would take him to hospital”).
When interviewed at the Caulfield Military Hospital where he would slowly recover from his injuries, Charlesworth was at loss to explain the cause of the accident: “We had been up for half an hour, and when l cut off the engine and prepared to come down the aeroplane was in perfect control. I cannot account for the sudden dip. It may have been caused by a slight gust of wind under the aeroplane's tail, but l cannot say. At first I thought that I could right the machine in time, but the nose quickly sank lower, and Mailer came to my aid. Even though I thought there was a chance of avoiding the crash, but it came like a flash”. With Mailer regarded as “the star pilot at Point Cook in big machines”, The Herald would conclude that the “finest pilot in the world could not have avoided the crash”. Sadly, it was reported that just a few minutes before his death, Mailer had flown over his weatherboard villa in Cherry Street, Werribee waving to his wife, Opal; the newly weds had gone to the theatre the previous night."
Flying officer Alan Charlesworth survived the crash, being awarded an O.B.E in 1946, serving in the RAAF until 1955, and died in 1978 of natural causes, aged 75.
A3-28 was Struck off charge and approved for conversion to components 18/05/25.
||Dr. John Smith
||Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]|
||Dr. John Smith
||Updated [Source, Narrative]|
||Dr. John Smith
||Updated [Total occupants, Narrative]|