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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Date15/10/1958
CasualtiesSqn Ldr Ernest John 'Red' Roberts AFC, A Squadron A&AEE TP
AircraftFolland Gnat Mk 1 XK767
Took off fromBoscombe Down, Wiltshire
Purpose of flightFlight to study handling characteristics of aircraft at low speed in event of tailplane electric trimmer failure.
Incident locationStapleford, Wiltshire
Incident detailsAbout 6min after take-off the aircraft (the sixth prototype Gnat) was seen in apparent difficulty climbing steeply. The pilot was seen to eject but was unable to leave the Folland seat, due to the failure of the harness release, and struck the ground. The climb was caused by a seized flying control relay valve.


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