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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 193388
Last updated: 31 May 2020
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Date:20-OCT-1955
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic HUNT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hawker Hunter F5
Owner/operator:RAE Farnborough
Registration: WP143
C/n / msn: S4/U/3022
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Pembrey, Carmarthenshire
Destination airport:RAF Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Narrative:
Hawker Hunter Hunter F.Mk.5 WP143: Delivered 23/6/55. No operational front line service with the RAF. Delivered to the RAE at Farnborough for test flying, with particular reference into investigations related to "engine flame outs" caused when the aircraft was firing its 4 x 20mm Aden cannon

Written off (damaged beyond repair) 20/10/55: Crashed into trees at RAF Pembrey, having made an emergency landing after being struck by a ricochet from the 20mm Aden cannon it was testing (with "live" rounds) at nearby Pendine Sands range. The engine failed (flamed out) and the Hunter F.Mk.5 overshot in an emergency landing at RAF Pembrey.

The pilot had tried to make an emergency landing on one runway at RAF Pembrey, only to find that the runway selected was blocked by being already being in use by a DH Vampire on final approach. The pilot then tried to land on another runway at RAF Pembrey; although he managed to make it to within the airfield boundaries, he landed on the grass just inside the perimeter fence, and the aircraft was wrecked when it collided with trees.

According to the official Air Ministry report into the incident (File PA1716/5/3/397 - see link #5) dated 8/11/55:

"Armstrong Siddeley Motors Experimental Department (Sapphire engines): Interim report concerning failure of engine B.7042/A.643502 in Hunter WP143

All the evidence clearly indicates that the engine sustained severe compressor damage due to the entry of a foreign body when the aircraft was carrying out a low level gun firing exercise. The deposits of molten aluminium alloy on the turbine are consistent with the engine running at the time the compressor damage occurred. The rapid fall in rpm which occurred whilst the pilot was making a forced landing also indicates that the compressor was damaged prior to being involved in the forced landing".

Aircraft not repaired. Struck off charge as Cat.5(G/I) as Ground Instructional Airframe 7292M. However, the airframe proved to be too damaged for such use, and therefore the wreckage was transported to the Pendine Sands Ranges for use as a target.

Note: The aircraft involved was Hawker Hunter F.Mk.5 WP143, and not, as often quoted, "WP153". No such serial number was ever allocated (it was part of a "black out block" of serials between WP151 and WP178). Also the crash took place on 20/10/55, and not as some sources claim "1956". Nor did it ever serve with 1 Squadron RAF or as "M" of 257 Squadron.

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.175 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p.81)
3. Category Five; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings p.163
4. Hawker Hunter 1951 to 2007 by David J Smith p 91
5. Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire Experimental Department, National Archives, Coventry: File PA1716/5/3/397 at https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/6d112998-45e0-4403-88ce-6ca42051e871
6. http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WP


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Feb-2017 18:19 ORD Added
28-Nov-2019 21:21 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative, Operator]
31-May-2020 20:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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