ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21319
Last updated: 6 February 2020
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:12-OCT-1961
Time:
Type:Gloster Meteor T.7
Owner/operator:728 Sqn FAA RN
Registration: WA600
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RNAS Hal Far -   Malta
Phase: Take off
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RNAS Hal Far, Malta
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Written off 12/10/1961 when ran off the end of the runway at Hal Far, Malta after an aborted take off and burst into flames
Jerry King-Tour was the pilot of the 728 Sqn Meteor T1.20, WA600, '573/HF' 'which went straight off runway 31 following an aborted take-off. Jerry was taking an air traffic controller in the back seat for a jolly.

He recalls:

"My aborted take-off during daylight hours on 12 October 1961, was caused by some malfunction of the undercarriage. As reports from the Tower indicated that I was on fire before I left the runway, I would assume that I lost brake hydraulics and this fluid was ignited by friction of some sort. With the nose wheel off the deck and the aircraft about to un-stick, we suddenly started to swerve to port and I got the impression, flying by the seat of the pants, that had we staggered into the air the aircraft would have rolled over to port out of control. So I put the nose wheel back on deck and applied the brakes, which failed. Had I lost brake fluid (which I didn't know at the time and still don't, as it happens) this was hardly surprising. As we had no bang-seats or hook to be dropped on occasions such as this to catch wires at the end of the runway, there was nothing to do except wait for the inevitable crash.

"The aircraft left the runway, already on fire, and prior to crashing through the perimeter-fence, having crossed the cricket pitch; the port (I think it was the port but it could have been the starboard) wing root hit an upright pole that carried binoculars for use by the target-drone squadron (728B Squadron). This caused the aircraft to rotate rapidly in the horizontal plane. We crossed the perimeter road still rotating and hit the first stonewall travelling backwards at a great speed. This collision removed the main undercarriage, as I remember it, and part of the engine nacelles. We then ploughed on through a small field and whilst still rotating hit the second stone wall going sideways. Malta has quite a few of these rubble walls scattered up and down the breath of the Island!

"This brought us to an abrupt halt and the aircraft blew up or rather that is how it appeared to us at the time. My immediate reaction was to vacate the aircraft and get my passenger out of the back after which we both got as far from the burning wreckage as possible. I do remember being on fire and staggering around this Maltese field looking for someone to wrap me in a blanket. I had obviously lost my marbles and expected someone to appear and put the flames out of my flying suit. As there was no one in this field with a handy blanket I then thought the best way to put the flames out was by rolling over and over on the ground but being a Maltese field (no disrespect to the Maltese, but a matter of fact!), there were rocks and boulders everywhere and this was not possible. So the third option and the correct one, albeit rather late, was to get out of my flying suit overalls, which I did. When the ambulance arrived I was staggering around in just my underpants!

"We were carted off to the sick-bay at the Air Station where we were given pain killing injections and then on to Bighi Naval Hospital by ambulance. The naval sentry at the gate challenged us for identification before he would let us in! Good old Navy, I don't suppose they will ever change! It just happened that I was admitted to Bighi a few hours after my daughter Georgina was born there."

Jerry had fourteen skin grafting operations there, carried out by Surgeon Commander James Watt (later to become Surgeon Vice Admiral Sir James Watt) and a further two in England at Haslar. His passenger fortunately spent only three weeks in hospital but Jerry was destined to remain there for ten and a half months altogether. When the passenger was discharged from hospital he visited Jerry and told him that his last words were "We are about to crash. I suggest that you tighten your safety harness."

The passenger said he tightened his safety harness and then they blew up! Jerry continues:

"An article which appeared in a naval flight safety review a few years later reported that after the crash someone was seen rolling up my flying suit and walking off with it under his arm as a souvenir and the crash helmet, with a split right down the front, was sent off to Farnborough for analysis."

Following the crash, the Fleet Air Arm instructed all aircrew not to wear nylon clothing underneath their flying suits. Jerry King-Tours had been wearing long white nylon socks and these contributed to his worst burn injuries.

Sources:

Air Britain RAF Aircraft WA100 - WZ999
http://www.aviationinmalta.com/MilitaryAviation/AccidentsMilitary/19601969/tabid/652/language/en-US/Default.aspx
www.ukserials.com/losses-1961.htm
http://www.ukserials.com/results.php?serial=WA


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
19-Jun-2008 18:43 JINX Added
11-Feb-2013 08:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Plane category, ]
11-Feb-2013 08:42 Dr. John Smith Updated [Registration, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Feb-2013 08:53 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
07-May-2013 14:25 Nepa Updated [Operator]
09-Jul-2015 12:14 Wilbur Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description