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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 24961
Last updated: 24 November 2019
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Time:12:08 LT
Type:de Havilland DH.84 Dragon
Owner/operator:Railway Air Services Ltd
Registration: G-ADEE
C/n / msn: 6099
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Fairsnape Fell, Forest of Bowland, near Garstang, Lancashire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Liverpool (Speke) Airport, Liverpool [EGGP]
Destination airport:Blackpool (Squires Gate) Airport, Blackpool
D.H.84 Dragon 2, Construction number 6099, Registration G-ADEE was operated by Railway Air Services Ltd, a British airline formed in March 1934 by the main four railway companies (LMS, LNER, SR and GWR) and Imperial Airways. It was a domestic airline operating routes within the United Kingdom linking up with Imperial's services and carrying mail and passengers. The aircraft had been built in March 1935 by the de Havilland Aircraft Co. specifically for Imperial Airways and had completed 657 hours flying time, including having recently undergone a general overhaul.

On Saturday October 26th 1935, G-ADEE was flying on a regular route from Manchester to the Isle of Man and took off from Manchester (Barton) at 11:00 for the first leg of the journey to Liverpool (Speke). The aircraft was flown by Capt. Cedric Rex Crow, aged 25, who had graduated as a pilot whilst in the RAF in 1929 and had been granted a Class “A” civil pilot’s licence on leaving the service in 1933. Overall he had over 1300 hours solo flying experience, 640 of which were with the RAF and including 114 on the Dragon.

He had transferred to the Manchester/Isle of Man route at the beginning of October 1935 and had completed the journey in both directions a dozen or more times, but not in bad weather conditions, when it was normal for pilots to follow the coastline rather than an inland route. Weather conditions that day were described as bad, but not so much so as to disrupt normal schedules, yet only 15 minutes after leaving Barton, Capt. Crow returned to the airfield and landed. He requested the latest weather report from Speke, even though he had already been briefed on the conditions before take off and the report was obtained for him. He took off again at 11:25 and duly landed at Speke at 11:35, where he picked up a passenger, Mr Ronald Swales, aged 24, from Port Erin on the Isle of Man and took off for Blackpool (Squire’s Gate) at 11:44.

Two radio contacts were received from the aircraft, firstly the pilot reported that he was flying in and out of clouds at 1000 feet and he was advised that another aircraft was flying the same route in the opposite direction at 800 feet. The second message was at 11:55 when he reported that he was flying at 500 feet in poor visibility.

A number of witnesses saw or heard the aircraft along its route and it was noted that at the last radio contact, it was some 8 miles inland and it was seen flying over the river Ribble at a few hundred feet near the western outskirts of Preston. G-ADEE was last seen as it just cleared a 780 feet high peak, probably Beacon Fell, flying in thick mist and the steady roar of the engines was heard to continue right up to impact. At approximately 12:08 the aircraft struck the steep slope of Fairsnape Fell, some 200 feet below its 1,700 foot summit, in a “very steeply climbing attitude”, no doubt as the pilot saw the obstacle at the last moment and tried to avoid it.

Both occupants were killed instantly on impact and the wrecked aircraft burst into flames, being almost completely destroyed by the time the first locals, who had heard the crash, made their way up the fell and located the burning plane.

Registration G-ADEE formally cancelled by the CAA on 2.5.36 due to "destruction or permanent withdrawal from use of aircraft". As recently as 26.6.2010, small pieces of wreckage were still present at the crash site


2. Crash site photo:

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
27-Dec-2011 07:07 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
30-Dec-2013 07:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
02-Oct-2017 20:00 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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