ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 16806
Last updated: 4 September 2019
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:15-DEC-1912
Time:11:55 LT
Type:Handley Page HP.6 Type F
Owner/operator:Handley Page Aircraft Ltd
Registration: No 28
C/n / msn: HP.6/1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Wembley Golf Links, Wembley, Middlesex -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Nature:Demo/Airshow/Display
Departure airport:Hendon, Middlesex
Destination airport:Oxford, Oxfordshire
Narrative:
The Handley Page HP.6 Type F first flew at Larkhill, Wiltshire on 21 August 1912. It was a two-seat, single-engined monoplane designed to compete for a War Office prize for a specified military machine in 1912. Its performance at Larkhill was dogged by engine trouble, which eventually caused a forced landing and damage. The machine was withdrawn and taken to Hendon for repair and flew again on 9 November 1912, with Wilfred Parke as pilot

Lt Wilfred Parke, RN, was killed while flying Handley Page Type F Military Trials No 28 at Wembley, Middlesex, on 15 December 1912 en route from Hendon to Oxford. Mr A Hardwick, who was also in the machine, was killed as well. The aircraft was not rebuilt after this accident. According to a contemporary report in "Flight" magazine (January 11, 1913 page 38 - see link #6):

"REPORT ON THE FATAL ACCIDENT TO LIEUT. WILFRED PARKE, R.N., AND MR. A. HARDWICK, WHEN FLYING AT WEMBLEY, ON SUNDAY, 15TH DECEMBER, 1912, AT ABOUT 12 NOON.
Brief Description of the Accident.—
Lieut. Wilfred Parke, R.N., with Mr. A. Hardwick as passenger, flying on a Handley Page monoplane, fitted with a 70 h.p. Gnome engine, left the London Aerodrome, Hendon, on Sunday, December 15th, 1912, at about 11.50 a. m., with the intention of flying to Oxford. When approaching the Wembley Golf Links, after having been in the air about five minutes, the aircraft was observed to be flying tail down.

When to the west of the Golf Links, the aircraft made a half-circle to the left, the pilot, possibly, having the intention of returning to Hendon. During this turn, he crossed over a line of trees, which brought him over the Links. The aircraft, when a short distance from the trees, fell to the ground, killing the pilot and passenger. The aircraft was completely wrecked.

Lieut. Wilfred Parke, R.N., was granted his Aviator's Certificate No. 73 on April 25th, 1911, by the Royal Aero Club.

Report.—The Committee met on Friday, December 20th, 1912, Wednesday, January 1st and Monday, January 6th, 1913, and heard the evidence of several witnesses. Mr. Frederick Handley Page, the designer of the aeroplane, also attended, and produced plans of the aircraft, and gave evidence on various points raised by the Committee.

From the consideration of the evidence the Committee regards the following facts as clearly established:—

(1) That the engine was not running well at the start from Hendon, and that the aircraft had considerable difficulty in leaving the ground and climbing.
(2) That witnesses agreed, that, during the journey from Hendon to Wembley, the aircraft was flying weakly.
(3) That the aircraft was flying into the wind on the west side of a belt of trees running along a ridge. From the end of this ridge, there is a somewhat sudden descent and a line of similar trees into the valley and to the railway at the bottom of it. The aircraft turned to the left beyond the belt of trees, crossed the line of trees and then flew parallel on the east side of the belt for about 120 yards before it fell, diving head first to the ground. The wind at the time was south-westerly with gusts. The portion of the belt of trees which may have had some influence on the accident runs due north and south, and therefore the wind was blowing at an acute angle to, and over, the trees.
(4) That before commencing the turn, the aircraft was about 40 ft. above the top of the belt of trees. After completing the semicircle, the aircraft was 60 ft. from the ground, i.e., level with the tops of the trees, and after that, was at no time more than a, distance of 50 yards away from the trees.
(5) That the field of view from the pilot's seat was very limited in the vicinity of the aircraft below the level of the wings.

Opinion.—The Committee is of opinion that the pilot put about owing to a failing engine, presumably with the intention of returning home, a distance of only a few miles. The Committee is of opinion that the accident was due to the failing power of the engine combined with the loss of flying speed on turning sharply, which loss was accentuated by the wind disturbances due to the configuration of the ground and to the presence of the belt of trees on the windward side. The pilot's field of view was undoubtedly restricted, but whether or not this affected his actions the Committee is not prepared to say.

Recommendation.—The attention of manufacturers and aviators is specially drawn to this particular accident, which emphasises the risk that is run in starting a cross-country flight with an aircraft, which, from one cause or another, is under-powered at the time.

The Committee again draws attention to the primary importance of a good field of view for the pilot."

The accident was caused by loss of engine power, combined with the loss of airspeed caused by turning, exacerbated by the wind disturbances due to the local topography, especially the presence of a belt of trees on the windward side of a ridge.

There is a stained glass window dedicated to the memory of Wilfred Parke in Uplyme parish church.

Sources:

1. Barnes, C.H.; James, D. N. (1987). Handley Page Aircraft since 1907. London: Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0-85177-803-8.
2. Bruce, J.M. (1992). The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (2nd ed.). London: Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0-85177-854-2.
3. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1916.htm
4. http://flyingmachines.ru/Site2/Crafts/Craft29592.htm
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Type_F
6. Flight Magazine January 11, 1913 page 38 at https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1913/1913%20-%200038.html
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Parke#Death
8. Flight Magazine August 2, 1913 page 853 at https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1913/1913%20-%200827.html

HP F at Hendon The Handley Page Type F over Hendon, 17 November 1912

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Mar-2008 11:55 Bleiente Added
27-Mar-2008 11:59 harro Updated
06-Jul-2010 23:42 Anon. Updated [Source]
10-Dec-2013 21:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
17-Nov-2018 01:32 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
17-Nov-2018 01:34 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]
19-Nov-2018 20:57 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description