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Air Ferry DC-4 Crash 3 June 1967

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Air Ferry DC-4 Crash 3 June 1967

Old 15th Dec 2007, 21:58
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Air Ferry DC-4 Crash 3 June 1967

Hi All

I've just been doing some family history research and have found a (distant) cousin who was killed in the Air Ferry DC-4 crash in the Pyrenees on 3 June 1967, the day before the BMA Argonaut crashed at Stockport. I've tried to find some information on line about this accident but without much luck, apart from type and date, and so I was wondering if anybody out there may be able to point me towards anything else.

Thanks

Anthony
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Old 15th Dec 2007, 22:09
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Accident
languages: Statuts:
Date: 03 JUN 1967
Heure: 21:06 UTC
Type/Sous-type: Douglas C-54A-1-DC
Operator: Air Ferry
Immatriculation: G-APYK
Numéro de série: 10279
Année de Fabrication: 1944
Heures de vol: 42663
Equipage: victimes: 5 / à bord: 5
Passagers: victimes: 83 / à bord: 83
Total: victimes: 88 / à bord: 88
Dégats de l'appareil: Perte Totale
Lieu de l'accident: Mont Canigou (France)
Phase de vol: En vol
Nature: Charter International
Aéroport de départ: Manston-Kent International Airport (MSE/EGMH), Royaume Uni
Aéroport de destination: Perpignan Airport (PGF)
Détails:
The DC-4 had been cleared to descend from FL70 when it struck a mountain at an altitude of 4000 feet.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Commission is of the opinion that the accident occurred following a collision with the mountainside, which resulted directly from a series of errors on the part of the crew (failure to use all the means of radio navigation available in the aircraft, error in dead reckoning, descent starting from a point which had been inadequately identified, failure to observe the safe altitudes fixed on the company's flight plan and, perhaps, mistakes in identification by visual reference to the ground.) This irrational conduct of the flight can be explained by the phenomena due to intoxication by carbon monoxide coming from a defective heating system.
Finally, it should be stressed that the misunderstandings which occurred between the aircraft and the Perpignan controller, as a result of language difficulties and in particular the non-existence of any standard phraseology, and also the failure to check the aircraft's magnetic bearing by means of the D/F equipment during the communication at 20.55hrs, may have constituted additional aggravating circumstances."
Sources:
ICAO Circular 107-AN/81 (55-69); Flight International 12.12.1969 (p.969)

http://aviation-safety.net/database/...0603-1&lang=fr

This accident has also been discussed previously on PPRuNe. Worth a website wordsearch.
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Old 16th Dec 2007, 04:32
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Thanks Tigermate

As you suggested I searched on PPRuNe and found some more info, think I might try the newspapers of the time as well.

Best Regards

Anthony
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Old 4th Feb 2008, 08:28
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interesting,
re the picture shown
in the background is a BMA argonaut...

which is the type which crashed the morning after
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Old 4th Feb 2008, 17:08
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Air ferry DC-4 accident.

WAMWIG,

I was flying for Air Ferry at the time. You will find a good report in "The Last Of the Pistons" written by Malcolm Finnis.

Speedbird48.
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Old 4th Feb 2008, 19:53
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robbie arrieula

hi there - i live in australia and have recently come across a lady who lost both parents and her husbands parents in the air ferry crash - june 3, 1967, Mt Canigou i am actually meeting her tonight! can you give me any idea at all where the memorial site for this crash may be. she has been trying to find out and i have spent hours on the internet and making calls to france but nobody seems to know. where did you find the other info on PPRuNe?
hope you can help
thanks
robbie
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Old 4th Feb 2008, 23:03
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Air Ferry DC-4 accident.

Hi Robb,

Sorry to hear your friends family that were lost on 'YK.

As you correctly say the aircraft hit Mt. Canigou, which is 9,137ft high, at and altitude of about 3800ft at 21-06hrs. It flew over a village called Prades about 3 or 4 mins. earlier. The thoughts at the time were that the cockpit heater had developed a crack and let Carbon Monoxide into the cockpit. the crews radio calls, that here taped, sounded as if they were intoxicated, which they were not, but Carbon Monoxide poisoning will give a similar effect.

The aircraft hit the mountain just about 1/2 mile above the village of Py which had 146 residents. The mayor at the time was a Rene Pedeil and his secretary was Mlle Calvet.

I know of no memorial, but that does not say that there isn't one.

The author of the book, Twilight of the Pistons, (I got it wrong in the earlier post) Malcolm Finnis is still around, and lives in Eastbourne, East Sussex., He may have better information. I can e-mail him if you wish??

Air Ferry had several Australian Stewardesses at the time, and I am still in touch with one of them who lives in Sydney, although the girls on YK were English.

If I can help any further please PM me.

Speedbird 48.
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Old 5th Feb 2008, 12:48
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Although I had no link with either incident, I believe that the Air Ferry accident and the British Midland accident marked a shift in the post-war development of the independent airline sector in the UK. The press made much of the fact that these were both elderly "charter" airliners, the strong implication being that independent airlines ran old, unairworthy aircraft on unscheduled operations.

It was after these incidents that the independent airlines realized that the public were clamouring for jet aircraft, and when jets were introduced to package holiday flights, the brochures made much of "Direct Jet flights".

With two incidents occurring on consecutive days, both involving "old" piston engined types, the groundswell of opinion was very strong. Not long after these events, the independent airlines started ordering jet aircraft, and it wasn't too long before tour operators demanded jet aircraft.

Within 2-3 years, refuelling stops at Perpignan and elsewhere had ceased, and the piston engined fleets were replaced by modern One-Elevens, Comets and 737s. By the early 70s, piston aircraft were almost unheard-of on Inclusive Tour flights.
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 08:32
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yes lgs6753 very interesting
not many old piston props did I/T flights after 1970's (early)

the last ones were SAM dc-6 from italy and inex adria dc-6 and BIAS dc-6
i often saw them at gatwick
i dont think spantax brought the dc-7's in much after that

cant remember much else lol
no doubt someone here can remind us (please)

ken fielding has some great pics on his photo site at MAN and LGW from the period

turboprops were still used til early 80's
i remember at BMA we used the viscount to PMI and MAH on night flights from LPL and BHX til about 1981 i think !

i flew to PMI on one from LPL on a friday night and the skipper came down to chat to all the pax and then had his dinner in the back row of the cabin !

took about 5 hours 45 i think to fly there !
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 09:25
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Thanks Speedbird48

I shall have to get a copy of Malcolm's book before they all go then!

Robb. Hope the meeting went ok

Thanks for everybodys help on this

Best regards

Anthony
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Old 6th Feb 2008, 11:23
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adds

i just got the book off ebay thanet books and its excellent!!

r eal good read
u can get it there
hope it helps

Last edited by rog747; 8th Feb 2008 at 15:13.
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Old 8th Feb 2008, 15:13
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typo

the book is wonderful
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Old 8th Feb 2008, 15:21
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Air Ferry DC4 Accident.

Hi rog747,

Glad you are enjoying the book. Malcolm Finnis did a great job putting it together. He has done another one for Invicta, the other airline at Manston.

It give a good insight to the way things were in those days, including the very sad accidnets.

He even saw fit to put my picture in it in several places??

Speedbird 48.
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 07:40
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air ferry DC - 4 accident

thanks so much speedbird48,
i think this will help my friend alot - the names of the villages in particular as she had originally thought that the accident happened near pau which is on the western side of the pyrenees, but maybe she was thinking of Py. i will pass this on asap,
thanks again
robb
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 07:46
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air ferry DC-4 accident

thanks again Anthony,
the meeting went just fine and i will no doubt see her again soon. she was very pleased to finally find some info on the crash. unfortunately her husband passed away just before christmas so she won't be able to share it with him but she is now on a mission to find out if the memorial still exists and i think she is registering on this site. i will ask her if she would like a copy of the book
cheers
robb
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 12:54
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Ar Ferry DC4 Accident.

With the help of PPRuNe, I am glad I was able to help you two guys and your friends just a little.

Very sad times when they happened. I rolled into the Operations office door not knowing that there had been an accident, and my humor was not appropriate. I remember the dirty looks very well.

Just to spread the thread a little.

I was also involved in the Stockport accident by default. I left on the above trip to Palma, Majorca where we had a slight problem with a distributor on #4 engine. The seal had allowed oil to get in, and oil and electric don't mix!! We took it off, washed it out with gas and departed for an uneventful flight and it was written up when we got to Manston where they changed the distributor.

Many months later I came in for a flight to be ushered into the Chief pilots office to meet some men from the Accident Investigation Board (AAIB). I was given a very thorough grilling by these guys as they insisted that I had had engine trouble all the way back from Palma. They did not say what they were looking for, and I assumed that they were getting at me for not writing up the distributor wash that we did in Palma?? In the end I got pissed and said "if you tell me what you are looking for I may be able to help, until then", etc. They changed their tone and told me that they had put the Stockport accident down to contaminated fuel. I had then emptied the same fuel truck that the Argonaut had used, so I must have had fuel contamination!! They were deadly serious!!

My replies had destroyed their theory and they had to go back, and start all over. In the end they found that the fuel and crossfeed levers were not all the way in the correct positions, and the fuel had been flowing from the fullest tanks to empty tanks, and not all going to the engines. A factor was the stretch for the F/O to operate the levers, and they never carried a proper Flight Engineer on the Argonaut. Any self respecting Flight Engineer on any of the big Douglas machines knew how to do this as you could balance the fuel quickly after a refueler had screwed up, or you had miscalculated??

Speedbird 48.
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Old 9th Feb 2008, 16:39
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Originally Posted by LGS6753 View Post
It was after these incidents that the independent airlines realized that the public were clamouring for jet aircraft ..... the groundswell of opinion was very strong. Not long after these events, the independent airlines started ordering jet aircraft, and it wasn't too long before tour operators demanded jet aircraft.
Actually the bulk of the IT accidents seem to have been caused by navigation CFIT at secondary destination airports rather than airframe-related issues (Stockport being an exception). What would they have given for GPS ? There were a number of other accidents to turbine aircraft on IT flights at the time - Dan-Air Comet at Barcelona, Britannia at Ljubljana etc.

The quick move to jets in the late 1960s was brought about by several coincidental factors.

1. The arrival of the BAC One-Eleven 500 which was well suited to such operations. The 737 came along at the same time which was chosen initially by Britannia as their first jet.

2. BOAC and BEA selling off their Comet fleets for operators like Dan-Air and Airtours.

3. Tour operators forming closer financial links with airlines leading to much longer term contracts, something you can take to the bank to borrow the millions to buy jets. This also led to a concentration on UK airlines rather than destination-based ones, who were even more likely to have old equipment.

4. The bankruptcy of British Eagle in late 1968 removed a large fleet of prop Britannias from the market.
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Old 10th Feb 2008, 03:09
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At Derby Aviation ( forunner of BMA) we also lost a Dak into a mountain at Perp. in the 60's

Aircraft had Decca but I think it lost the chain. Also we did not use ink in th chart plotters
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Old 10th Feb 2008, 09:01
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air ferry DC-4 accident

hi speedbird48,
I am finding this all so interesting. I will be in france on the western side of the pyrenees in april/may so will ring the mairie in Py and find out where the memorial site is. I know it exists as this friend knew people who had seen it many years ago but they have since passed on. As i told Anthony - I think i need to go there myself (for some reason!)
cheers
robb
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Old 10th Feb 2008, 10:02
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If its of interest the Derby Aviation DC-3 crashed on 7 October 1961, with the loss of all 34 on board, also on Mt Canigou!

http://www.crash-aerien.com/www/data...he.php?id=3539

Maybe I'll see you there then Robb

Regards

Anthony
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