View Full Version : Supersonic bale-out, S/L Tony Svenson, RAF, attached RAAF, 7 December 1964

1st June 2022, 18:30
Spink auction catalogue of 25 September 2001 offered a Caterpillar Badge (estimated value 300-360 pounds) earned by Squadron Leader Tony Svenson, RAF, who was on loan to the RAAF and was on 7 December 1964 flying from RAAF Avalon, near Melbourne, testing a Mirage II supersonic fighter over the desert. He reported:

“I was at 35,000 feet in the Mirage and I was carrying out a maneouvre I had been ordered to do at near the speed of sound. The actual maneouvre is still secret but I immediately lost control of the Mirage and although I shut off the engine it went straight down, nose first, increasing in speed and rolling at the same time. For the next 90 seconds I was very busy. I kept a running commentary going to the Ground Station saying what I had done, what was happening to me and what I was trying to do to get the plane out of the downward plunge. But whatever I did made no difference. The Mirage still went on down increasing in speed every second despite the fact I had cut the engine. At 7,000 feet I decided it was time to get out and I pulled the blind which fires the ejector seat.”

Three seconds later the Mirage, still accelerating, hit the ground.

His ejection at 922 miles an hour was at the time a world record for such a feat. On ejecting at such speed he broke both his arms and one leg in two places and lost consciousness. On landing he then broke his other leg in two places.

After which he had a bit of luck !

Six doctors were passing by in a minibus on a desert road only 100 yards away. They were immediately at his side giving the first aid he desperately needed. He was taken to the RAAF Hospital at Laverton where, for two days he was unconscious and then for 10 days was in a coma. After the bones of his legs were reset, it was found that he was two inches shorter, at 5 feet 8 inches, than he was before the accident.

Question - if this WAS the record then, what is it now ?

1st June 2022, 20:33
I guess the other side's records didn't count.

On 11 September 1962, Georgy Mosolov, following a compressor failure at Mach 2.15, ejected from his Mikoyan YE8 at Mach 1.78 (1369 mph).

He passed away in 2018.



2nd June 2022, 03:53

Several errors/omissions in the Spink's catalogue description.

1/. The pilot of RAAF Mirage IIIO(A) A3-1, of the Aircraft Research & Development Unit, Laverton, Victoria, was 607233 S/Ldr Anthony 'Tony' Ivor Gough SVENSSON RAF.
2/. Avalon, the site of the crash, is hardly desert country! It is sandy (tidal plain), but certainly not a desert, as such.


3rd June 2022, 18:13

Some sources have his name as Ivar Anthony Gough Svensson, including the London Gazette.



4th June 2022, 00:54

I used the AIR 78/154/1* description of Svensson's name ie, SVENSSON Anthony Ivor Gough 607233.
Free BMD shows him as Svensson Ivar A G (3Q 1931). Some local newspaper reports describe him as I. A. Svensson/Tony Svensson.

* https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C15625765 - Image 7 of 246.