Thunder & Lightnings

Test Flying Memorial

"...and everywhere the
blue sky belongs to them
and is their appointed rest
and their native country"
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge


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Date04/07/1944
CasualtiesFlt Lt Norman John Bonnar AFC (Test Pilots School TP) and Flt Lt Laurence Roy Brady RAAF (TPS student)
AircraftVickers Wellington Mk III X3549
Took off fromBoscombe Down, Wiltshire
Purpose of flightLongitudinal stability tests involving aft C of G
Incident locationChilmark, Wiltshire
Incident detailsFlight involved hands-off flying increasing/decreasing speed by 10 m.p.h. and observing the aircraft's subsequent behaviour. Around an hour into the flight the aircraft was seen in a vertical dive and impacted the ground shortly afterwards. Cause unknown, but it was thought that the aircraft may have developed an excessively heavy nose trim when reaching a steep angle in a divergent phugoid, and the increase in speed prevented the pilot from recovering from the dive.


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