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Thread: 28 OTU Wellington X9683 had a previous life with 305 Sqn

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    Default 28 OTU Wellington X9683 had a previous life with 305 Sqn

    In a google search, I found a Polish web site that lists this a/c as serving with 305 Sqn. Of course, I can't read Polish, so if anyone can help me with what it says about this one, I'd appreciate it.

    http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dywizjon_305

    The plane was later lost while with 28 OTU. My subject on this one is Sgt. George Albert Long, R/156117, RCAF. All I have on the loss is "caught fire and crashed 2 miles from aerodrome at Wymeswold."
    David

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    X96"83" was on the strength of 305 - 150 - 18 OTU - 15 OTU - 28 OTU (SOC 12-3-1944).

    LONG c.s. were on X96"38" lost 28 OTU 7-8-1943 (crashed 2m from Wymeswold).

    Henk.

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    Forgot to mention that X96"38" never was assigned to 305 Squadron.

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    Thanks Henk, it was incorrect in my database so you have saved me some time chasing the wrong a/c.

    Does anyone have any more details on the crash site?
    David

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    Chorley Vol. 7 has a bit more detail:
    " Wellington 1C X9638 - T/o 01:37 Castle Donington for a night detail during which the no.2 cylinder barrel on the port engine fractured. This led to the unit catching fire and sending the Wellington down to crash 02:03 near the airfield."
    Regards
    Dave Wallace

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    Thanks Dave. My other question is, why would the plane crash so close to the airfield with one engine on fire? Would a busted no. 2 cylinder be that catastrophic? Or was it a matter of a trainee pilot panicking perhaps?

    The accident report in Long's file says the fire burned away the fabric on the port side and caused loss of lateral control. Witnesses say the a/c was lower than 1,000 ft at the time (practice bombing raid on Ragdale Range) possibly explaining why no one bailed out. But that just begs the question, why was a student crew flying so low on a bombing exercise?
    David

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    David,

    Engine out performance on aircraft of the Wellington's vintage was marginal, at the best of times. If fully fuelled and carrying bombs for a long range exercise, the 26 minutes between take off and crash, at least some on only one engine, wouldn't give much time to get higher than a few thousand feet. It sounds to me like they may have been trying to return to the airfield after the initial engine problems. They probably still had a nearly full fuel load, and may not have had a chance to jettison any bombs if over the UK. A relevant quote from the era: "after the first engine fails, the main function of the second engine is to deliver you to the crash site."

    A fire in flight is a serious problem for any crew, regardless of experience. A fractured cylinder could lead to an engine fire, which could quickly spread, especially in a fabric covered aircraft. The loss of lateral control could have resulted from fabric burning off any flying surfaces, wings or tail planes. Having all this happen in the dark probably doesn't help either.

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    I think Bill's point of the fuel quantity & bomb load is very valid, I checked my father's log book as he was serving as a Navigation Instructor at 28 OTU at the time this accident happened and the night exercises he went on ranged from 3 to 6 hours in length. He also commented on another accident at 28 OTU that a family friend was killed on while trying to land on one engine saying " They were in a Wellington 1C and this kite just won’t go around again on one engine. They stalled and went into the deck from about 100 feet. The aircraft burned out. All the crew were instantly killed."
    The other factor here is they would have had the option to land at at least two airfields, Castle Donington, where they took off from, was a satellite aerodrome to Wymeswold and only 8 miles away. It looks like they crashed two miles from Wymeswold.
    Dave Wallace
    Last edited by David Wallace; 23rd January 2010 at 21:13.

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    Great points guys, thanks. And Dave, what a coincidence about your father. If there's any other details you can share with me, please do (my e-mail is in my profile).

    Being only half an hour out, it sounds like they were trying to get back but things deteriorated too quickly. If I understand you correctly, Bill, they were probably still climbing to their intended altitude when the engine went and so didn't have much height to begin with?
    David

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    David Fuller, I think you are right. We can assume they turned around shortly after the first engine problem, and then crashing back near the airfield of origin suggests the engine problems came about halfway thorugh the total flight time, say about 13 minutes or so into the flight. Their altitude could have still been fairly low at that point, maybe only 3 or 4 thousand feet, and then they would have started a descent back to the airfield. The fire spreading, and the subsequent loss of control, could have easily happened at around 1000 feet as they came close to the airfield, although their original target height for the exercise could have been much higher.

    David Wallice's story further demonstrates the problems with engine out performance back in the day. The aircraft might not have been able to climb on one engine at a high weight, the pilot could have then tried climbing at lower airspeeds until it stalled. Modern concepts like minimum control speed with one engine out, and Vx and Vy speeds, were not well understood back then, or well taught to the pilots. With 20-20 hindsight, and the benefits of modern training, if a pilot realizes he couldn't climb at a safe speed on one engine he should start looking for an open space to land in, and even throttle back the good engine to improve controllability. Again, the good engine just delivers you to the crash site.

    To make matters worse, stalling with one engine at high power and the other engine out is a classic spin entry procedure. It would take a considerable loss in altitude, hundreds or even thousands of feet, to recover from that in an aircraft as heavy as a Welly. Doing it from 100 feet was just impossible.

    To put this in a modern perspective, their is some discussions on other Forums about a recent F-18 crash in Finland. The crew hadn't recovered from a spin at 10,000 feet above ground, so, per standard procedure, they ejected.

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