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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 202338
Last updated: 12 October 2020
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Date:18-AUG-1939
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH.60G Moth
Owner/operator:Malling Aero Club
Registration: G-ABAM
C/n / msn: 1263
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Borough Green, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Training
Departure airport:West Malling, Maidstone, Kent
Destination airport:West Malling, Maidstone, Kent
Narrative:
DH.60G [Gipsy I] registered as G-ABAM [C of R 2645] 13.6.30 to Richard R.W.R (Randolph) Trafford, Abergavenny; aircraft based on strip at Michaelchurch Escley, Abergavenny. C of A 2543 issued 19.6.30. Still operated by R.W.R. Trafford in April 1932. Operated (by 1935) by Malling Aero Club, West Malling, Maidstone, Kent. Re-registered [C of R 8698] 13.8.38 to Malling Aviation Ltd, operated by Malling Aero Club, West Malling, Maidstone, Kent.

Written off (damaged beyond repair) when crashed at Borough Green, Kent 18.8.39; pupil pilot under training E.E. Raggett killed. Here is the report of the Coroner's Inquest. The address given for Mr. Raggett is "Bearstead" (as opposed to "Bearsted") that is how the newspaper spells it. (Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser - Friday 25 August 1939):

"PILOT KILLED ON SECOND SOLO FLIGHT.
Believed to be Upset by Mishap to Goggles.
THE MACHINE FELL LIKE A STONE.
Taking off from Malling Aerodrome on Friday for his second solo flight, a young pilot in the Civil Air Guard, who was said to have made an excellent first flight, was seen to be having trouble with his goggles, which were whipped off by the wind. He was seen to be flying erratically in his endeavour to to adjust the goggles, and a few minutes later crashed to his death at Borough Green.

Giving evidence at the inquest held at the Church Hall, Borough Green, on Tuesday, his instructor expressed the opinion that the pilot had allowed the incident to upset his flying and that somehow or other he had lost the aerodrome.

The pilot, Ernest Edward Raggett, of Lord Romney's Hill, Bearstead, had been a member of the Civil Air Guard since April and had had nearly twelve hours of dual instruction.

Mr. J. H. Soady conducted the inquest.

Herbert Edward Raggett, of Lord Romney's Hill, Bearstead, said that his son was 26 years of age and had been a member fo the Civil Guard since April.

Dr. R. Green, of Borough Green, explained that Raggett had sustained a fracture to the base of the skull and other injuries. Death was undoubtedly instantaneous.

Graham William Harrison, of Hill View, Tunbridge-Road, Teston, chief instructor at Maidstone and West Malling aerodrome, gave evidence that Ragget made an excellent first solo flight on August 15. He was was sent up for his second solo flight on Friday.

Mr. Soady: The time that he had put in on dual flying before before his first solo was hat the normal amount - Yes, quite normal.
Speaking generally, a man who does twelve hours dual flying and shows satisfactory progress is fit to take up solo ? - yes.
That first solo he did, did he do it satisfactory ? - It was excellent.
On Friday you sent him up to do half an hour solo for practice landing ? - Yes
When the machine left the ground was it in perfect condition ? - I was flying it myself five minutes previously and it was perfectly alright.
Mr. Sady: Did he take off easily ? - Unfortunately not. As he opened the throttle to take off I saw the wind whip his goggles off and he took off very erratically because he was reaching back with one hand and trying to put them on.

Witness added that this caused him some concern and watched for Raggett to come back. When he did not return in a reasonable time he knew that something had upset him and he got another instructor to go up and see if he could see the machine.

Mr. Soady: So deceased actually got out of your sight when he was flying. He was in the air when you lost sight of him ? Yes.
Did he seem to be flying erratically all of the time ? - He seemed to be flying erratically all of the time I could see him. He went to 1,000 feet and and I thought he was gaining heights that he could adjust his goggles and land.
Mr. Soady: Are you satisfied that so far as your knowledge goes there was nothing wrong with the machine itself ? - There was nothing wrong with it when I was in it, and it was a very satisfactory plane to fly. It was the machine that Raggett did his first solo in.

Replying to questions by the pilot's father, witness said that Raggett should have been able to fly with his goggles off he had left them. Unfortunately he allowed them to worry him. He left the aerodrome at about 7.30 when visibility was about two miles in the air, which was perfectly satisfactory . He thought that what Raggett did was to fly on adjusting his goggles without paying attention to where he was, and somehow or other lost the aerodrome.It was surprising how much a small incident can upset people when they first start flying.

George Henry Paul, of Green Garth, Ightham, said he was in Borough Green Recreation Ground on Friday evening and saw a light aeroplane circling round. He estimated that in its first circle it might have been at a height of 350 to 400 feet. It was rapidly losing height and and made a flat turn, with no sign of banking. It circled again, still losing height, and he realised there was the possibility of a crash. He estimated that it was about 150 feet up at the time it stalled and crashed. The engine was operating all the while and he did not hear any cutting out of the engine, which seemed to be functioning perfectly. The machine seemed to halt in mid-air, up went its tail and it came down like a stone.

Re-called, Harrison said there was sufficient petrol in the machine to make a fight of three hours.

P.-Sergt. Cooper also gave evidence.

The Coroner, addressing the jury, said it was a sad and most unfortunate occurrence that a public spirited young man like this should lose his life in this manner. They had heard that the machine was in proper flying order and there was ample petrol for the flight, and that the pilot, so far as he had gone, was thoroughly competent. He could not see that there was a anything improper or dangerous, apart from the ordinary danger, which must be attached to flying, in sending Raggett up that night. He thought that the obvious explanation was that for some reason he might very well have been understandably upset. It might be that the goggles had upset him at the beginning of the flight.

The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death" adding a rider that there was insufficient evidence to show whether it was the fault of the machine or the pilot."

Registration G-ABAM cancelled 10.9.39 due to "destruction or permanent withdrawl from use of aircraft"

Sources:

1. Londonderry Sentinel - Saturday 19 August 1939
2. Birmingham Daily Gazette - Saturday 19 August 1939
3. Daily Mirror - Saturday 19 August 1939
4. Daily Mirror - Wednesday 23 August 1939
5. Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser - Friday 25 August 1939
6. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-ABAM.pdf
7. http://afleetingpeace.org/index.php/aeroplanes/15-aeroplanes/76-register-gb-g-ab
8. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_G-A2.htmll
9. http://www.ewyaslacy.org.uk/Michaelchurch-Escley/The-de-Havilland-Gipsy-Moth-aircraft-as-flown-by-Randolph-Trafford/1930-s/rs_mic_0144
10. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Acc1939.htm
11. http://www.ewyaslacy.org.uk/-/-Randolph-Trafford-The-Flying-Years-by-James-Baxendale/1927-1943/rs_mic_0162


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
29-Nov-2017 21:54 Dr. John Smith Added
25-Mar-2020 00:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
25-Mar-2020 00:57 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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