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August 1923 Air Union Farman Goliath crash

August 1923 Air Union Farman Goliath crash
Photograph of a Farman Goliath
A Farman Goliath, similar to the accident aircraft.
Accident) summary
Date 27 August 1923
Site East Malling, Kent, United Kingdom
Passengers 11
Crew 2
Injuries (non-fatal) 9
Fatalities 1
Survivors 12
Aircraft type Farman F.60 Goliath
Operator Air Union
Registration F-AECB
Flight origin Le Bourget Airport, Paris, France
1st stopover Berck, Pas-de-Calais, France
2nd stopover Lympne, Kent, United Kingdom (unscheduled)
Destination Croydon Airport, Surrey, United Kingdom

The August 1923 Air Union Farman Goliath crash occurred on 27 August 1923 when a Farman F.60 Goliath of Air Union crashed at East Malling, Kent, United Kingdom following an engine failure and reported panic amongst the passengers. One person was killed and nine were injured.

Contents

  • Aircraft 1
  • Flight 2
  • Accident 3
  • References 4

Aircraft

The aircraft involved was Farman F.60 Goliath F-AECB, c/n 4. The aircraft had entered service in April 1922 with Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes, passing to Air Union in January 1923.[1]

Flight

The aircraft was operating a scheduled international flight from Le Bourget Airport, Paris, France to Croydon Airport, Surrey, United Kingdom, via Berck, Pas-de-Calais, France. The aircraft departed from Le Bourget at about 12:30 local time (11:30 GMT) with two crew and eight passengers on board. A scheduled stop was made at Berck, where another three passengers boarded.[2] Due to weather conditions,[3] a precautionary landing was made at Lympne, Kent, where a leak in the port radiator was attended to by the mechanic.[2]

Accident

After a delay in excess of half an hour,[3] the aircraft departed from Lympne for Croydon.[2] About 45 minutes after take-off from Lympne, as the aircraft flew over East Farleigh,[3] the starboard engine failed.[2] The aircraft was then flying at about 65 knots (120 km/h) at an altitude of just under 2,000 feet (610 m). The pilot altered course, intending to land at either Marden or Penshurst. As the Farman Goliath was incapable of maintaining level flight with only one engine operating, the pilot decided to make an emergency landing. He asked the mechanic to ask two passengers to move towards the rear of the aircraft.[3] This instruction was apparently misunderstood by the passengers, as four of them moved towards the rear of the aircraft.[2] This affected the centre of gravity of the aircraft, which then entered into a spin. It crashed at East Malling at about 17:30 GMT, but there was no fire.[4] The aircraft was written off in the accident.[5]

Villagers went to the assistance of the victims, and extricated them from the wreckage. One passenger was killed. Six people were taken to the West Kent Hospital, Maidstone for treatment. Two ambulances from Maidstone Ambulance Brigade attended. Three less seriously injured people were treated at a house in East Malling.[4] An inquest opened on 30 August at the Ship Inn, East Malling. A survivor of the accident denied that there had been any panic amongst the passengers following the failure of the starboard engine, and that the moving of four passengers from the front cabin to the rear of the aircraft was on the instructions of the mechanic. The inquest was adjourned until 11 September to allow other victims to recover sufficiently to be able to give evidence.[2] At the resumed inquest, the pilot gave evidence. The Coroner decided that nothing was to be gained from delaying the inquest further, and the jury returned a verdict of "accidental death" on the victim.

References

  1. ^ "Civil Aircraft Register – France, page 2". Golden Years of Aviation. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Kent Aeroplane Crash" The Times (London). Friday, 31 August 1923. (43434), col A, B, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b c d "Kent Aeroplane Crash" The Times (London). Wednesday, 12 September 1923. (43444), col E, p. 7.
  4. ^ a b "Aeroplane Crash In Kent" The Times (London). Tuesday, 28 August 1923. (43431), col F, p. 8.
  5. ^ "Aeroplane Crash In Kent, French Naval Visit" The Times (London). Wednesday, 29 August 1923. (43432), col A, p. 16. (photographs)
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