VX770 crash at Syerston

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VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Sooty655 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:58 pm

I know there have been previous threads on this topic, but I have started this new one to ask a specific question.

All the wreckage was transferred to Farnborough for investigation, and the report was issued 18 months after the accident as RAE Accident Note STRUCT 307.

It isn't with the BoI report at The National Archive, or anywhere else at TNA that I can find. Hendon deny all knowledge of it, and the RAE archive say they haven't got it.

Various statements have been made in books blaming the pilot for the crash, but those authors I have been able to challenge have not been prepared to justify their statements.

Does anyone out there know where I can find a copy of the RAE Accident Note?
Sooty

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Dan4th » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:02 pm

Can't remember where I saw it, but I
DO remember that either the Pilot's
son or grandson was trying to disprove
the "facts" as they are generally thought
to be.

Sorry, though, Soots. I don't know where
to point you other than that.........

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Nickolas » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:17 pm

WITHOUT PREJUDICE


I recall reading somewhere that the prototype Vulcan's were not as structurally strong as the production A/c (lighter gauge material used in parts of the airframe). I am further led to believe that as a result of that there was ALLEGEDLY some over stressing of the airframe prior to the display at Syerston and the run at Syerston resulted in a catastrophic structural failure.
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Exceptionalsleeper » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:45 pm

Syerston and I have a great history. Only nine miles away from home, I did my work experience there in 1996, flew plenty of gliding sorties there over many years and then luckily, I was posted to the Air Cadet Central Gliding School between 2004-2008.

For many years I was interested this incident, visited the crash site many times. I came across this website whilst searching some time ago, which any information given came from the file in the National Archives at Kew. For anyone interested the file is BT 233/403 perhaps you've already seen it - as stated on the site.

http://john-dillon.co.uk/V-Force/vx770.html
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Sooty655 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:56 pm

Nickolas wrote:WITHOUT PREJUDICE


I recall reading somewhere that the prototype Vulcan's were not as structurally strong as the production A/c (lighter gauge material used in parts of the airframe). I am further led to believe that as a result of that there was ALLEGEDLY some over stressing of the airframe prior to the display at Syerston and the run at Syerston resulted in a catastrophic structural failure.

Thanks, Nickolas. There is a lot of info in the public domain, but none of it is conclusive - the word ALLEGEDLY crops up quite a lot.
The BoI file at TNA has a reference to the structural investigation report, but no copy of it seems to exist. Unless someone can find a copy, the allegations will never be more than allegations.

Exceptionalsleeper wrote:Syerston and I have a great history. Only nine miles away from home, I did my work experience there in 1996, flew plenty of gliding sorties there over many years and then luckily, I was posted to the Air Cadet Central Gliding School between 2004-2008.

For many years I was interested this incident, visited the crash site many times. I came across this website whilst searching some time ago, which any information given came from the file in the National Archives at Kew. For anyone interested the file is BT 233/403 perhaps you've already seen it - as stated on the site.

http://john-dillon.co.uk/V-Force/vx770.html

Thanks, ES. I've read the file at TNA many times, but it is mainly the notes of the Board of Inquiry. There are a few other bits, but not a lot.
At the time, with everything secret, it was fairly easy to blame the dead aircrew. However the video, although of poor quality, is now in the public domain and paints a very different picture to the version published in various books.
I doubt whether the report will ever be found, but I thought I would at least give it a try.
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Gully » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:18 am

Tony Blackman (one of Avro's test pilots heavily involved in the Vulcan programme) is adamant in his account of the incident in his book 'Vulcan Test Pilot' that the airframe had almost certainly been damaged / overstressed prior to the Syerston loss. He notes that he has it on unimpeachable authority that VX770 had been performing aerobatics in Rolls Royce hands, including a full loop, and also notes that the RR engineers were not aware of the need for inspections within the leading edge following aerobatics / displays (damage was found by Avro on both XA903 and VX777). Added to this is the fact that VX770 was not built to production standard and had a lower g rating.

TB's belief is that the leading edge broke up due to pre-existing damage and also questions the accuracy of the speed estimate of over 400knots at the time of the failure... He also notes that pilots often get the blame for fatal accidents as they are not there to defend themselves.

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Sooty655 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:25 am

Gully wrote:Tony Blackman (one of Avro's test pilots heavily involved in the Vulcan programme) is adamant in his account of the incident in his book 'Vulcan Test Pilot' that the airframe had almost certainly been damaged / overstressed prior to the Syerston loss. He notes that he has it on unimpeachable authority that VX770 had been performing aerobatics in Rolls Royce hands, including a full loop, and also notes that the RR engineers were not aware of the need for inspections within the leading edge following aerobatics / displays (damage was found by Avro on both XA903 and VX777). Added to this is the fact that VX770 was not built to production standard and had a lower g rating.

TB's belief is that the leading edge broke up due to pre-existing damage and also questions the accuracy of the speed estimate of over 400knots at the time of the failure... He also notes that pilots often get the blame for fatal accidents as they are not there to defend themselves.

Gully

Thanks, Gully. It was Tony Blackman's comments in Vulcan Test Pilot that first got me really interested in this. I had already read the TNA file, but hadn't realised that there was any controversy.
Since then, I have worked my way through the available info several times, and each time the conclusion smells just as bad.
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Ramshornvortex » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:55 pm

It was Tony Blackman's comments in Vulcan Test Pilot that first got me really interested in this


Sooty,

Guess who is (hopefully) coming to Wings & Wheels at Wellesbourne next June 20th (Fathers Day) to sell/sign his books?

Your witness.....

RHV
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Sooty655 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:05 pm

Ramshornvortex wrote:
It was Tony Blackman's comments in Vulcan Test Pilot that first got me really interested in this


Sooty,

Guess who is (hopefully) coming to Wings & Wheels at Wellesbourne next June 20th (Fathers Day) to sell/sign his books?

Your witness.....

RHV

Yes, but the problem is he only knows what he has been told in confidence by other pilots. We need the bloody accident report to have something definitive, and I am increasingly convinced that the report was quashed at source and never issued beyond RAE.

However, before W&W2010 I will write up everything I have found, and see what he thinks.
Last edited by Sooty655 on Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Nickolas » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:23 pm

Sooty655 wrote:
Gully wrote:Tony Blackman (one of Avro's test pilots heavily involved in the Vulcan programme) is adamant in his account of the incident in his book 'Vulcan Test Pilot' that the airframe had almost certainly been damaged / overstressed prior to the Syerston loss. He notes that he has it on unimpeachable authority that VX770 had been performing aerobatics in Rolls Royce hands, including a full loop, and also notes that the RR engineers were not aware of the need for inspections within the leading edge following aerobatics / displays (damage was found by Avro on both XA903 and VX777). Added to this is the fact that VX770 was not built to production standard and had a lower g rating.

TB's belief is that the leading edge broke up due to pre-existing damage and also questions the accuracy of the speed estimate of over 400knots at the time of the failure... He also notes that pilots often get the blame for fatal accidents as they are not there to defend themselves.

Gully

Thanks, Gully. It was Tony Blackman's comments in Vulcan Test Pilot that first got me really interested in this. I had already read the TNA file, but hadn't realised that there was any controversy.
Since then, I have worked my way through the available info several times, and each time the conclusion smells just as bad.


Ah, that's where I read it............

Looking forward to this a lot. It's going to be an interesting report.
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Saracenman » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:40 pm

i think it's a sad truth that investigators often start with the simple premise that it's pilot error, unless something else comes up :(

there have been several examples where families have campaigned to have the name of their dead pilot relative cleared, after the blame being attributed to him/her - the loss of RAF Chinook ZD576 on the Mull of Kintyre in the 1990s is the most recent example i can think of. it took years for Whitehall to acknowledge there were technical issues which may well have caused the crash. X(

i wouldn't be at all surprised, at a time when the V-Force were beginning to be such a vital component in the Cold War, if what could have been seen as a technical weakness in the Vulcan design had been made public :(

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Sooty655 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:59 pm

Saracenman wrote:i think it's a sad truth that investigators often start with the simple premise that it's pilot error, unless something else comes up :(

there have been several examples where families have campaigned to have the name of their dead pilot relative cleared, after the blame being attributed to him/her - the loss of RAF Chinook ZD576 on the Mull of Kintyre in the 1990s is the most recent example i can think of. it took years for Whitehall to acknowledge there were technical issues which may well have caused the crash. X(

i wouldn't be at all surprised, at a time when the V-Force were beginning to be such a vital component in the Cold War, if what could have been seen as a technical weakness in the Vulcan design had been made public :(

sm

I hear what you say, SM and I agree that the report could be expected to be classified as Secret. The thing that surprises me is that the report was not classified as Secret, it simply disappeared. I have other reasons to believe the cover-up (if that is what it was) was for reasons of company or personal reputation rather than national security.

I need to pay another visit to TNA and get all my ducks into one row, and I will then write it up. If nothing else, it will provide a long post for all our budding pedants to chew over. :D
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Saracenman » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:21 am

good point - Secrets List would make sense, but simple disappearance :-?

i too will be very interested in the outcome Sooty

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby PhantomAviator » Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:40 am

Sooty655 wrote:I know there have been previous threads on this topic, but I have started this new one to ask a specific question.

All the wreckage was transferred to Farnborough for investigation, and the report was issued 18 months after the accident as RAE Accident Note STRUCT 307.

It isn't with the BoI report at The National Archive, or anywhere else at TNA that I can find. Hendon deny all knowledge of it, and the RAE archive say they haven't got it.

Various statements have been made in books blaming the pilot for the crash, but those authors I have been able to challenge have not been prepared to justify their statements.

Does anyone out there know where I can find a copy of the RAE Accident Note?



Have you tried talking to the records office at BAe?
if not then you may get something from them.
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Sooty655 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:44 am

PhantomAviator wrote:Have you tried talking to the records office at BAe?
if not then you may get something from them.


Obviously, the geriatric factor has kicked in early. :(

I have been in contact with Woodford quite a lot recently, and I never thought of asking them about this. ~x(

Good suggestion, PA. I will be on to them tomorrow, but I guess "after Christmas" will be the initial response.
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Dan4th » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:50 am

Quick, Sooty!

What did you have for Breakfast?

I find that senior moments allow me time
to think a little better about what the #%!*$
I'm saying.......

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Sooty655 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:55 am

Dan4th wrote:I find that senior moments allow me time
to think a little better about what the #%!*$
I'm saying.......


Nah, the senior moments just allow enough time to forget what the hell I was talking about. :))
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Dan4th » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:03 pm

Specs, Car Keys, Gloves, Glasses of Beer, TV Remotes, Pens................

If you want to hide something, just put it right in plain sight!

Or in my hand :ymblushing: .

Okay! Back on TOPIC!

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Ducati Boy » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:00 pm

Dan4th wrote:Specs, Car Keys, Gloves, Glasses of Beer, TV Remotes, Pens................

If you want to hide something, just put it right in plain sight!

Or in my hand :ymblushing: .

Okay! Back on TOPIC!

D.

=)) =)) =)) Thats more like: Specs? on face, car keys? in hand, wallet? in back pocket, house key? in jacket pocket, all set to go? Yep! Now ............where are the hell are my specs. =)) =)) =)).

On the Vulcan crash: Interesting stuff especially about the possibility of post aeros damage. I believe that on 558 we have to carryout specific inspections after Negative G is recorded including visual checks for signs of rivet heads seperating around the landing lights.
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Gully » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:03 am

Re. post-aeros damage, TB says this: "...after each aerobatic flight at Woodford we had a special small man in the groundcrew who could and would climb up and inspect inside the leading edges for damage, because sometimes the nose ribs buckled and had to be repaired". He also refers to an inspection of VX777 halfway through the 1958 SBAC show when "...it was discovered that the leading edges and the bomb arches at the top of the bomb bay were in poor shape and needed repair".

XA903 was found to be damaged after appearing at the 1958 SBAC show carrying a half-weight Blue Steel mock-up. Allegedly, the aircraft completed an unauthorised display over Moreton Vallance on it's way back to Woodford and during ground servicing the damage was found - the g recorder having registered 4.5g! It was finding this damage that provoked the inspection of VX777 noted above.

All info from TB! :)

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Saracenman » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:29 am

TB? :-??
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Dan4th » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:58 am

Tony Blackman
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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Saracenman » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:09 am

8-} of course! i was wondering which aircraft organisation had the initials TB =))

off to crawl back under my rock =))

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Xplumberlives » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:54 am

Saracenman wrote:TB? :-??



Blimey, keep up!

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Re: VX770 crash at Syerston

Postby Jason_osmer » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:48 pm

Regarding: 1958 Syerston VX770 Avro Vulcan crash
Hello
I’m currently studying engineering with the Open University with the aim of joining the RAF as an engineering officer. For my final dissertation/project I am doing an investigation into the structural failure of VX770 Avro Vulcan at RAF Syerston.
I contacted the national archive to try and get a copy of the official incident report and received the following reply;
“Unfortunately, we are unable to provide at present because the documents you requested are in use........ You may wish to submit a new request in the future; we would recommend waiting at least 1 month for the document to be returned.”
Having read some of the comments on this forum it seems that getting a copy of the report may not be as simple as that.
Has anyone made any progress with their investigations?
I have just joined the forum and I’m unfamiliar with its workings could someone please tell me how to private message/ get in contact with: Sooty655
Thanks
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