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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 58340
Last updated: 18 October 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic HUNT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hawker Hunter F Mk.5
Owner/operator:1(F) Squadron Royal Air Force (1(F) Sqn RAF)
Registration: WP118
C/n / msn: S4/U/2997
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Forest Row, West Sussex -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Tangmere, Sussex
Destination airport:
WP118: Cen. Fuse. C/N S4/U/2997. Delivered 18-05-55, No.5MU, Kemble. No.257 Sqn, ('W'). No.1 Sqn, ('S'). The pilot of Hawker Hunter WP118 was flying as No.2 of a pair of aircraft and he had been briefed to carry out high level cine and tail chase exercises at an altitude of 32,000 feet.

Approximately twenty minutes after take-off from Tangmere the pilot began to experience a 'sponginess' of the aileron controls as he came out of a starboard turn. The speed of the aircraft at the time was noted as .75 I.M.N. Hydraulic system pressure appeared normal, and the pilot sent a radio message to tell ground Control that he was in difficulties.

He selected manual control on the ailerons, but immediately noticed starboard wing heaviness with a strong tendency to roll to starboard - he tried to re-select power control on the ailerons but this caused the control column to lock solid. Once again he switched to manual control but the control column refused to budge, the roll continued and then the Hunter went completely out of control and descended in a spiral dive.

Having made an emergency call and jettisoning the canopy, he then ejected at a height of around 22,000 feet. Unfortunately, due to the lack of leg restraints on the type of ejector seat he suffered serious leg injuries due to his lower limbs 'flailing'.

The Hunter struck the ground at very high speed near Forest Row, Sussex whilst the pilot landed at Cowden in Kent. The cause of the accident was attributed to loss of flying control due to an inadvertent manual reversion of the aileron power controls when the aircraft was flying under conditions of severe lateral asymmetric trim. This trim condition was attributed to a large angular deflection of the aileron trim tab from the flight neutral position.

The reason for such a setting was not conclusively established but it was considered highly probable that it was brought about by a false cockpit indication of the trim position, causing the pilot to select an out-of-trim condition when setting the cockpit indicator to neutral. Owing to the lack of material evidence the cause of the initial manual reversion was never determined but it was probable that the above mentioned trim condition and the resultant large aileron hinge movements may have had some bearing on the failure.

Hawker Hunter The Ultimate collection by David J. Griffin

Revision history:

10-Jan-2009 11:55 ASN archive Added
04-Dec-2011 14:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
31-Mar-2012 17:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Source, Narrative]
15-Aug-2012 08:31 Nepa Updated [Aircraft type, Operator]
01-Oct-2012 02:11 RAFOHunter Updated [Cn, Operator, Source, Narrative]
03-Oct-2012 00:49 Anon. Updated [Source, Narrative]
22-Apr-2013 12:38 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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