ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 148475
Last updated: 3 October 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-JUN-1971
Time:17:15 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-24-250 Comanche
Owner/operator:Trustees of the Alpha Echo Group
Registration: G-ATAE
C/n / msn: 24-1322
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Bordesley Park, near Redditch, Warwickshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Test
Departure airport:Birmingham Airport (BHX/EGBB)
Destination airport:Birmingham Airport (BHX/EGBB)
Investigating agency: AIB
Narrative:
On 12 June 1971, G-ATAE took off from Birmingham Airport for an air test prior to renewal of its Certificate of Airworthiness. 16 minutes after take off the aircraft went into a nose dive from an altitude of approximately 3,000 feet. The pilots got the aircraft out of the dive but seconds later the aircraft broke up in mid air, killing all 4 people on board (pilot, co-pilot, and two passengers). The wreckage trail stretched for three-quarters of a mile. According to the AAIB report:

"About 16 minutes after take off from Birmingham Airport, the aircraft was seen near Redditch flying level below cloud. Shortly afterwards, the engine noise was heard to reduce, and the aircraft was seen to dive; as it pulled out of the dive, there was a considerable increase in engine noise, and the right wing separated from the aircraft, which then broke up in flight. The four occupants were killed, and the aircraft was destroyed, but there was no fire.

The AAIB investigation established that the primary failure in the break up sequence was the right wing in up-load. There was no evidence of defective material, or faulty assembly or maintenance, and there is no doubt that the wing failed because it was aerodynamically loaded beyond its design ultimate strength.

The overloading was certainly brought about by an application of excessive up-stabilator control, but it has not been possible to establish any reason for the action"

The AAIB report names two of the four fatalities as Bryan Thomas Amesbury (pilot, aged 35) and Thomas William France (aged 30, co-pilot) The two passenger fatalities were not named. Registration G-ATAE cancelled by the CAA as aircraft "destroyed" 12/6/1971

Sources:

1. AAIB Final Report: https://assets.digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/media/5422f85840f0b61342000647/14-1973_G-ATAE.pdf
2. Supplement to AAIB Report: http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/14-1973%20G-ATAE%20Append.pdf
3. https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-ATAE.pdf
4. https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1974/1974
5. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 101/733 to AVIA 101/739 inclusive (11 files): https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10904587 to https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10904593
6. G-ATAE at Biggin Hill 11/5/1968: https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/view/1037293/
7. G-ATAE at Elstree (EGTR) in 1965: https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/view/1563563

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration:
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
03-Sep-2012 07:43 ryan Added
10-Jun-2013 03:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Aug-2015 19:05 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Aug-2015 19:12 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
03-Oct-2020 19:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Source, Narrative, Accident report]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description