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Old 22nd Sep 2016, 12:22
  #32 (permalink)  
ericferret
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: England
Posts: 1,249
I think that the accident to XW850 has become confused with the wiring incident.
Although I have not been able to find confirmation of it. I believe XW850 crashed after the pilot took avoiding action to prevent a collision with a Wessex. During that action the cyclic froze and the aircraft struck the ground resulting in the three back seaters being killed.
The accident was subsequently attributed to Jack stall and a modification to incorporate a hydraulic accumulator was embodied.

I accept that the report stands as by the time further information came to light the wreckage was long gone and so no direct link could be established.

Circa 1976 the sister ship XW851 was undergoing a major inspection at 70 Workshops. During that inspection a manufacturing defect was identified which involved
the stick friction at the base of the pilots stick. This defect caused the stick to jam solidly and no amount of force would allow it move rearwards. At the time a signal was sent to all squadrons operating the Gazelle to carry out an immediate inspection. I suppose there must be a record of that somewhere in Aircraft Branch or whatever it is called these days. One officer within 70 at that time was a Major Southern who I believe had been involved in the original crash investigation. He felt that the defect in 851 mirrored the pilots report from the 850 accident.

I have always wondered if anybody ever spoke to 850's pilot about this finding.
I recall that some doubt was thrown on his version of events and a positive finding of this nature may have been welcome.

This defect could actually remain dormant for years as a combination of friction setting and stick movement were required to induce the jam. At the time there was little contact between the military and the civilian world and no Airworthiness Directive was ever issued for civilian aircraft although they came off the same production line using similar parts. It is actually possible that even after all this time the defect could still be
present in some aircraft.

I am hoping that the three servicemen killed in the accident will be remembered on the forthcomming Memorial Wall at The Museum of Army Flying

The Memorial Wall

During this period a number of Air Techs were killed both in Northern Ireland and Germany.
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