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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20539
Last updated: 28 May 2021
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Date:24-JUL-1957
Time:23:35 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B.Mk 2
Owner/operator:231 Operational Conversion Unit Royal Air Force (231 OCU RAF)
Registration: WE114
MSN: 71077
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Fen Road, 1 mile SW of RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Training
Departure airport:RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire
Destination airport:RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire
Narrative:
EE Canberra B.2 WE114, 231 OCU, RAF: Written off (destroyed) 24/7/57 - Dived into ground after overshooting on night BABS approach. Callsign "LOCUS 65". Flight Lt S.H. Naidu (27) and Flight Lt D.P. Pandey (25), both from Indian Air Force, killed. According to published sources (see links #6, #7 & #10) the file of the official accident report (together with photos of the wreckage) was kept secret until declassified by Mr E Devender, a relative of one of the crew, Flt Lt S H K Naidu in July 2014. The following is an extract from that report:

"The last flight of LOCUS 65:
On the night of 24th July 1957, Hari Naidu and Dwarka Prasad Pandey were slotted to fly a simulated blind bombing exercise. They were to fly a Canberra B2 bomber, Tail No. WE114, Call sign "LOCUS 65". Locus 65 was built in 1952 and had flown for 1,583 hours up to that day. Naidu and Pandey took off at 21:55 Hours and completed their exercise in the next half hour.

At 23.35, Naidu called out to the GCA at Bassingbourn about his intention to land. It was a dark night, with little or no horizon. And the only way for the aircraft to land was to make use of the BABS - Blind Approach Beacon System. Aided by the GCA, the Canberra asked for clearance to land three miles out. Shortly thereafter, Naidu announced that he was overshooting and decided to go around.

The ground personnel noted the aircraft flying level over the runway and cross the length of it. As it turned upwind and gained speed, Naidu raised the flaps. At that time the tail was trimmed to the nose heavy position, and this pushed the aircraft into a steep dive. With no visual horizon to refer to, Naidu missed the cues of the aircraft going into the dive till it was almost too late. During the final moments, the pilot in the Canberra seemed to have arrested its descent, but it could not recover and hit the ground less than a mile SW of the runway in an open field at Fen Road.

It struck an open field in a shallow angle at high speed, and the wreckage spread out in a linear fashion over 650 yards. During this post impact line of flight, it severed through some high tension wires and caught fire. The entire fuselage disintegrated and both the crew members killed in the crash."

Sources:

1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.191 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Royal Air Force Aircraft WA100-WZ999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1983 p 31)
3. Category Five; A Catalogue of RAF Aircraft Losses 1954 to 2009 by Colin Cummings p.256
4. The Indian Express 26 July 1957, p 8
5. http://simviation.com//lair/casualty1957.htm
6. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 5/37/S2885: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C6578665
7. National Archives (PRO Kew) File BT233/290: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C424511
8. http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?2657-Canberra-Crash-at-Bassingbourne-25-July-57
9. http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1957.htm
10. Photos of wreckage: http://www.rafcommands.com/galleries/The-National-Archives-TNA/BT-233-390-Photographs
11. https://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Galleries/Documents/1957-Canberra-Crash/
12. https://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Galleries/Documents/1957-Canberra-Crash/001-Cover-Accident-to-Canberra-WE114.jpg.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
03-Jun-2008 23:06 JINX Added
03-Apr-2013 23:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
18-Jul-2014 21:30 angels one five Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Nature, Narrative]
04-Dec-2018 09:26 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location, Operator]
08-Jan-2019 22:11 TB Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
08-Jan-2019 22:14 TB Updated [Source]
08-Jan-2019 22:26 TB Updated [Source]
20-Oct-2019 19:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
01-Nov-2019 16:08 Anon. Updated [Operator, Operator]
23-Jan-2020 17:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Feb-2020 14:34 Xindel XL Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Operator]
08-Aug-2020 17:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
08-Aug-2020 20:06 Xindel XL Updated [Operator, Operator]

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