ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 233368
Last updated: 29 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:15-JUN-1921
Time:day
Type:Avro 539B
Owner/operator:A.V. Roe & Co Ltd
Registration: G-EAXM
C/n / msn: 539 B/1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Hamble Airfield, Hamble-le-Rice, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Nature:Test
Departure airport:Hamble, Hampshire (EGHM)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
The Avro 539 (later 539A) was a single-seat floatplane first flown on 29 August 1919. It was a single-bay, unstaggered biplane with a nose-mounted 240 hp (180 kW) Siddeley Puma piston engine and twin wooden floats. It had a single open cockpit for the pilot aft of the wings. Registered G-EALG (C of R 295) on 21 August 1919, it was modified before the race with a balanced rudder and elongated fin. The Schneider Trophy competition was held on 10 September 1919 but the 539 was eliminated. It was later modified as a landplane with a smaller fin and flown at the Aerial Derby in July 1920 as the Avro 539A. It was returned to the Avro factory at Hamble, where it was reconstructed as a 539B and registered G-EAXM. (C of R 676 dated 27 June 1921)

As the Avro 539B, the aeroplane made its first - and last - flight at Hamble on 15 July 1921, on the eve of the 1921 Aerial Derby, for which it had been constructed. The aeroplane performed well, but as much couldn't be said for its test pilot, Major Denis Westgarth-Heslam. On returning from the test flight, he made a perfect landing but far too far into the aerodrome, leaving himself an insufficient landing run. It is suggested that the reason for this was that the landing speed of the 539B was significantly greater than that of the 539A.

The result of this was that he overshot the aerodrome and ended up in the cutting of the railway that led to the old RAF Assembly Park at Hamble. G-EAXM was damaged beyond repair and Westgarth-Haslam was seriously injured. (Breaking his leg for the second time, in consecutive years, in flying accidents; he had broke his leg for the first time in Avro 534B Baby G-EAUG, which crashed near Ipswich on 5.8.20). This time Avro chose not to repair or rebuild the 539, and the registration was cancelled on 13 August 1921 due to "destruction or permanent withdrawl from use of aircraft"

As for the pilot, he recovered from his injuries, and lived until the ripe old age of 87, when he died in December 1972 in Aldershot, Hampshire

Sources:

1. Jackson, A.J. (1974). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 1. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-10006-9.
2. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-EAXM.pdf
3. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-EALG.pdf
4. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=15213.0
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_539
6. http://britishaviation-ptp.com/avro539.html
7. https://www.the-blueprints.com/blueprints/ww2planes/ww2-avro/35359/view/avro_539_england_1919/
8. https://www.key.aero/forum/historic-aviation/115052-avro-539-a-falcon

Avro 539B G-EAXM when still the Avro 539A (landplane version) G-EALG circa July 1920: Avro 539B Falcon G-EALG

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
29-Feb-2020 17:30 Dr. John Smith Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description