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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 19493
Last updated: 16 September 2020
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Date:24-MAY-1952
Time:day
Type:Taylorcraft Plus C2
Owner/operator:Wycombe Flying Club
Registration: G-AHBO
C/n / msn: 109
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Weston Favell, Northamptonshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Fairoaks Aerodrome (FRK/EGTF)
Destination airport:Sywell Aerodrome (EGBK)
Narrative:
Originally G-AFUD: first registered as such 19/5/1939 [C of R 9114/1] to Personal Airways Ltd., Croydon Airport. Croydon, Surrey. C of A 6606 issued May 1939. Registration G-AFUD cancelled/lapsed 7/6/39.

Registration restored [C of R 9114/2] 28/6/39 to Taylorcraft Aeroplanes (England) Ltd, Thurmaston, Leicestershire (aircraft based at Ratcliffe Aerodrome, Leicestershire). Regsitration G-AFUD cancelled/lapsed 13/7/39.

Registration restored [C of R 9114/3] 19/7/39 to the Luton Flying Club Ltd., Luton Airport, Luton, Bedfordshire. Registration G-AFUD cancelled when impressed into military service as HH986 on 31/8/1941. Issued to 651 Squadron, RAF. To Taylorcraft at Rearsby for modification to C.2 standard 1/4/42. Work completed 29/4/42. After returning to 651 Squadron as a Model C2, HH986 was transferred to 653 Squadron on 19/8/42, and later to 43 OTU on 8/12/42.

On 21/5/43, it was returned to Rearsby, and later ferried to 5 MU RAF Kemble, on 7/9/43 for long-term storage. However, on 30/10/43, it is believed to have been released for English-Electric, at Samlesbury, Preston, Lancashire, returning to 5 MU on 17/12/44.

Finally, HH986 was sold to the Oxford Flying Club on 19/1/46, and restored to the register as G-AHBO on 13/12/46 [C of R 9914/1]. The aircraft's record card states that the registered owner was Air Training (Oxford) Ltd., Kidlington Aerodrome, Oxford. However, this was amended to Universal Flying Services Ltd., Fairoaks Aerodrome, Chobham, near Woking, Surrey. Registration cancelled/lapsed 13/1/48

Registration G-AHBO restored [C of R 9114/2] 20/1/48 to Robert Charles Cox, Chobham, Surrey (aircraft remained based at Fairoaks). Registration cancelled/lapsed 27/1/48. Registration next restored 2/7/48 [C of R9914/3] to Roger Blake Pursey, Shoreham-by-sea, Sussex. Registration cancelled/lapsed 24/11/48

Registration G-AHBO next restored [with new C of R, R.857/4] on 12/1/49 to Hugh Edward Scrope, London W.8 and Theophilis Hoegaerts, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Registration cancelled/lapsed 1.1.51. Registration restored [C of R 857/5] on 3.2.51 to the Wycombe Flying Club, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire (aircraft based at Wycombe Air Park, Booker, Buckinghamshire). G-AHBO achieved national notoriety on 25.11.51, when it was deliberately flown THROUGH Tower Bridge in central London. According to a contemporary report in "Flight" magazine (4/1/52 page 18)

"TOWER BRIDGE FLIGHT SEQUEL

THE sequel to the flight through Tower Bridge by a pilot of a light aircraft was heard at Mansion House on December 21st [1951] when Frank Miller, a 39-year-old chemist of Chingford, Essex, was fined £100.

He appeared in answer to a summons alleging that, on Sunday, November 25th, he was "in command of an aircraft which failed to comply with Rule 14 (2) of Section III of Schedule II of the Air Navigation Order of 1949 by flying over London at an altitude of less than 1,000 ft above the highest obstacle within a radius of 2,000 ft from the aircraft."

(The maximum penalty under this section is £200 or six months' imprisonment, or both.) The defendant (who had hired the aircraft from the Denham Flying Club and had his 13-year-old son with him as a passenger) pleaded guilty to the charge.

Mr. C. J. Thackery, for the police, said that the space [between the upper and lower spans of the bridge] through which the machine flew was 106 ft 8 in high and 226 ft wide. A sudden gust of wind might well have proved disastrous. Miller: "There were no gusts of wind and no shipping on the river, and nothing approaching the bridge. As regards engine trouble, I have never known a plane maintained by the Denham Club have engine failure."

The Clerk asked Mr. Thackery whether the Court had any power to endorse a flying licence. Mr. Thackery said he did not know, but he did not think so. There was provision for the Minister of Civil Aviation to place a limitation on a flying licence and he imagined that such action would be taken in that quarter. The limitation might, for example, bar Miller from flying over any town. His present licence expired on December 28th and he thought that any necessary action would be taken if a renewal were sought.

In imposing the fine, the Magistrate (Aid. Sir Frank Newson-Smith) told the defendant: "It is easy for you to say there was no danger. You seem to forget that there were pedestrians and traffic crossing Tower Bridge—probably horses as well—and you were not in a position to calculate possible dangers."

Although the aircraft was described in Press reports as an Auster it was, in fact, a Plus D Taylorcraft, G-AHBO."

Written off (damaged beyond repair) when crashed at Weston Favell, Northamptonshire, on 24/5/1952. Registration G-AHBO cancelled by the CAA on 30/11/1952 as "destroyed"

Sources:

1. Auster Quarterly Vol.1 No. 1 at http://austerhg.org/auster_mags/Auster%20Quarterly%20Volume%201%20Number%201.pdf
2. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AFUD.pdf
3. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AHBO-1.pdf
4. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-AHBO-2.pdf
5. http://austerhg.org/prod_list/pages.php
6. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_G-A11.html
7. https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/view/1303309/
8. https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1952/1952
9. http://afleetingpeace.org/index.php/15-aeroplanes/80-register-gb-g-af
10. https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/388510-flying-through-tower-bridge.html#post5183852
11. https://londonist.com/2014/06/tower-bridge-the-greatest-stunts
12. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/27049789/1916269
13. http://www.a-e-g.org.uk/under-the-bridge-fliers.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-May-2008 11:10 ASN archive Added
09-Dec-2012 11:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
24-Feb-2018 20:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
24-Feb-2018 20:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
24-Feb-2018 20:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
24-Feb-2018 20:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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