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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Date04/09/1939
CasualtiesFlt Lt Gilbert S. White (RAE TP)
AircraftSpitfire prototype K5054
Took off fromFarnborough, Hampshire
Purpose of flightnot known
Incident locationFarnborough, Hampshire
Incident detailsBounced twice on landing and then nosed over. As the aircraft came to rest on its back the cockpit was partially crushed and the radio mast was pushed down through the fuselage, pulling the Sutton seat harness back with such a force that the pilot bent the back of the seat on impact with it, causing injuries that led to the pilot's death in hospital the next day. A modification was later made to the run of the cable that anchored the Sutton seat harness to the rear of the fuselage in production aircraft.


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