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Narrative:5.3.1913: Bristol-Coanda Monoplane No. 146. Written off (damaged beyond repair) due to wing failure in flight, Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire; aircraft was a on a test flight prior to export for Romania. Pilot - and sole occupant - Geoffrey William England (aged 20) was killed. According to the following summary of the Coroners Report, held at Bulford on March 7, 1913 (see link #3):
|Date:||Wednesday 5 March 1913|
|Owner/operator:||British and Colonial Aeroplane Company.|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1|
|Aircraft damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire -
|Departure airport:||Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire|
|Destination airport:||Larkhill, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire|
|Confidence Rating:|| Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources|
"Another Aviation Disaster
Terrible Fall on the Plain
An aviation disaster on Salisbury Plain on Wednesday, in which Mr Geoffrey England fell from an enormous height and was instantly killed, was the subject of an inquest at Bulford yesterday before Mr Frank Trethowan, the acting coroner.
His father, Mr George England, of The Hollies, Walton-on-Thames, said that on Monday his wife received a letter in which their son, who was only 20 years of age, wrote,
“We are going to test four Roumanian 80 horse-power monoplanes. Pixton went up in one but found it a jolly sight too bad. The Prince had the cheek to ask me to do the duration test, of one hour and five minutes, in a very bad and gusty wind, but I was not having any. Last night we had a wire from the firm saying that the tests had to be done by next Thursday, good or bad weather…..At any rate, we will have another go this evening.”
Replying to Mr Greville Smith (who appeared for the family), witness said his son had told him he did not like the 80 horse-power machine, but said he could not put his hand on the weak spot.
Mr Jullerot, manager of the Bristol Flying School at Larkhill, said the monoplane in which England met with disaster was one of four ordered for Roumania. He and Pixton had completed the duration test on two of the machines. Mr England asked that he should be given the chance of flying one of them.
Wednesday was not a good day for flying, but several military machines had flown from Upavon to Larkhill and back. Before starting witness examined the machine and found it in order. When Mr England had been flying about 39 minutes the wind had increased from 20 to 30 miles an hour. He started at five minutes past 12 on an hour’s duration test. There was a wind of not more than 20 miles’ velocity and a clear sky.
Mr England quickly reached an altitude of 3,000 feet, and still climbing, he passed over the Upavon sheds at a height of over 4,000 feet. He then made a swoop round over Bulford, still increasing his height, passing on over Amesbury, until at Stonehenge he was nearly 5,000 feet high. Over Fargo Wood it appeared that the aviator was preparing to come down. He had been flying about thirty-nine minutes, and the wind had jumped up to thirty miles an hour.
He thought the descent seemed a little steeper than usual. When the machine had dropped to a thousand feet the engine was either being switched on and off, or it was running badly. England apparently tried to put the nose of the machine into the wind, which would cause a greater strain on the machine. He turned sharply and was making a corkscrew descent.
When he was about 600 feet up, I suddenly saw the left wing of the machine go down and the right go up to an angle of 50 degrees. I suppose he got a frightful “wind-shock” after the bank. The pilot tried to warp, but I saw the left wing fly off and the machine fell like a stone. He telephoned for a doctor and went to the spot on a car. England was an experienced pilot. In cross-examination he admitted that his firm’s orders left them a discretion.
David Good, a pupil of the Bristol School, said England told him he was not taking a passenger because a passenger would probably have an unpleasant time of it. He saw the machine fall, and discovered England dead, with the wreckage across his legs.
Frank Matthews, groom, of Durrington, said he saw the machine drop, and it seemed that the wind got under the tail and tipped it up.
Lieut-Col Fords, RAMC, said he found both legs broken, also the left arm, a fracture of the base of the skull, and many other injuries. Death was probably due to fracture of the skull.
A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned."
1. Western Gazette - Friday 7 March 1913
2. Portsmouth Evening News - Friday 7 March 1913
6. Flight magazine June 21, 1913 page 676 at https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1913/1913%20-%200650.PDF
The views of a Bristol Coanda monoplane in 1912
||Dr. John Smith
||Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]|
||Dr. John Smith