Thunder & Lightnings

Test Flying Memorial

"...and everywhere the
blue sky belongs to them
and is their appointed rest
and their native country"
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Date12/01/1952
CasualtiesSqn Ldr B.H.D. Foster DSO DFC and bar (co-pilot and RAF liaison officer)
AircraftVickers Valiant (prototype) WB210
Took off fromHurn, Bournemouth
Purpose of flightIn-flight engine shutdowns and relights, in connection with noise measurement trials for planned V1000 airliner
Incident locationBramsgore near Christchurch, Hampshire
Incident detailsWith starboard inner engine shut down, four attempts were necessary to restart it, during which time excess fuel from the restart attempts pooled within the jet pipe shrouds. The successful relight ignited this fuel and a fire began to spread through the rear of the wing structure, attacking the fuel lines and spreading over the course of the next 20 minutes. The crew became aware of the fire only when it was catastrophic in magnitude, as there was no fire detection in the area in question. They abandoned the aircraft when control was lost, and shortly before it broke up. First pilot (Jock Bryce, Vickers CTP) ejected safely and rear crew (FTOs Mr G.R.Holland, Mr. J.N.Montgomery and Mr. J.Protheroe-Thomas) also bailed out successfully. However, Sqn Ldr Foster's ejection seat struck the tail fin and he received fatal injuries. The second and subsequent Valiants had an improved jet pipe shroud, extra fuel drainage and added fire detection and extinguishing systems to the area.


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