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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 56567
Last updated: 9 June 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic LTNG model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Lightning F1
Owner/operator:BAC (British Aircraft Corporation)
Registration: XG332
MSN: 95021
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Hatfield, Hertfordshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Hatfield, Hertfordshire (EGTH)
Destination airport:Hatfield, Hertfordshire (EGTH)
First flown by J.W.C. Squier 29-5-59 at English Electric, Samlesbury. Used throughout flying life by EE/BAC and de Havilland for Firestreak and Red Top air-to-air missile trials.

Crashed on final approach to Hatfield, whilst involved in the Red Top AAM programme, on 13-9-62. Whilst carrying out a demonstration flight, there was a fire in the aircraft's reheat zone. Un-burnt fuel in the rear fuselage had been ignited by a small crack in the jet pipe and had weakened the tailplane actuator anchorage. This weakened the tailplane control system which failed with the aircraft at 100 feet on final approach.

Fortunately the nose pitched up, giving test pilot George Aird time to eject. He came down through a greenhouse roof, breaking both legs and right thigh. He was unconscious due to the impact of landing and was woken by jets of cold water from the greenhouse's sprinkler system. He later recovered to resume his flying career.

This aircraft is one the featured in the famous (and much syndicated) photograph of the pilotís ejection watched by a tractor driver (see below). According to some sources, including the tractor driver who appears in the picture, the photographer was paid £1,000 (equal to £18,607 at 2012 prices) by The "Daily Mirror" for the photograph.

Other newspapers originally dismissed the photograph as a fake...until the Ministry of Defence tried to put a "D Notice" on the photograph banning its publication, which confirmed that it was indeed real and not a fake!

Total flights 214, hours flown 138h 52m.


3. [photo of crash, see below]


Photo of XG332 courtesy

Farnborough (EGLF / FAB)
11 September 1960; (c) Terry Dann Collection

Revision history:

08-Feb-2012 07:27 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Feb-2012 07:30 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
09-Jun-2012 16:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
13-Jun-2013 22:09 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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