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croydon aerodrome air safety

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croydon aerodrome air safety

Old 19th Feb 2011, 16:57
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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On 13 Feb 46 a Dakota of 435 Sqn crashed on approach to Croydon with the loss of 8 lives.

One of the passengers could not be found immediately but it transpired that he was an RAF officer who simply left the crash site and made his own way to London because, quote: 'he didn't want to be late for a meeting at Air Ministry'!!

So this man left 8 dead people and another 8 injured people to fend for themselves, so as not to keep anybody in Adastral House waiting. Such devotion to duty!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Old Duffer (still can't believe it)
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Old 20th Feb 2016, 15:39
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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September 1952 Croydon DH Rapide Crash

In reply especially to Jonathan Carne's query (posted on 2/11/2010) about pictures of the above crash in which his father, Rodney Reuben Carne, sadly died, my son Peter recently came upon the following website with four photos.

http://www.alamy.com then search: B52M2K

this will show the main photo with thumbnails of the other three below it.

if that fails, an alternative route to the same page is:

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-the-scene-of-the-de-havilland-rapide-crash-at-the-shopping-centre-20343307

I would have been only just one year old at the time of the crash and have lived in Wallington all my life and remember my parents telling me of a plane crash in Wallington but assumed (I think) that it was during the last war. I'm interested in transport of all types, having owned a preserved ex-London Transport bus since 1970 and in more recent years have become interested in local history.
Living near Roundshaw Park as a boy, my mates and I used to play in the long grass just inside the delapidated wire-mesh fences of Croydon Airport but kept well away from the Tiger Moth trainers that were landing and taking off at that time! We were never challenged by anyone but if it could happen today would no doubt have been spotted on CCTV and the armed anti-terrorist squad called!
One of the newspaper cuttings mentions that Rodney Carne lived at Cuckoo Hill Road, Pinner at the time, the same road as some good friends of mine who were some of the founders of the Cobham Bus Museum were living in the late 60's/early 70's - small world!

Last edited by RFbus; 20th Feb 2016 at 18:29. Reason: Incorrect name taken from a newspaper cutting - corrected.
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Old 25th May 2018, 20:27
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Croydon memories

I lived about a mile from the old airport in the 1930's; my father worked there for Imperial Airways from 1934 to 1950 apart from the war years 1940 to 45 when he was sent to Treforest in South Wales. My uncle/godfather worked ther from the opening as London Airport until the outbreak of war in 1939, he was Imperial's Chief Inspector for most of that time. He remained with the airline and its successive identities until retiring in 1959. I learned to fly there with the Surrey & Kent Flying Club and flew as passenger in a Leopard Moth on its last flight out of Croydon to Biggin Hill. Thus my family had connections throughout its civil working life.

In recent weeks I have been re-reading James Hamilton Patterson's book, Empire of the Clouds, that deals primarily with aircraft of the post 1945 wars but t has triggered memories and is helping me with my own book that has been only about 10 years in preparation to date! One day, maybe, I'll consider it finished and look for a publisher.

Anyway, back to Croydon. Croydon became London Airport in the early 1920's and evolved from Waddon Aerodrome that was used by the machines built at National Aircraft Factory No 1. In 1939 it was taken over by the RAF as a fighter base for the defence of Londoon and south east England, all civilians were sent off site, in my father's case to a factory in Commerce Way, Croydon, later to Treforest. My uncle went overnght 3/4 September in an obviously pre-planned move to the Grand Spa Hotel in Bristol!. In 1938 he changed roles from Chief Inspector to join the Chief Engineer's Department. The Chief Engineer at that time was Major Mayo of Mayo Composite fame (the piggyback seaplane combination of Maia and Mercury built by Short Brothers at Rochester).

The wartime introduction of heavy bombers generated a need for hard runways that, post war, became available for the transport derivative aircraft so that Croydon's grass airfield was not suitable nor was there any potential for expansion. BOAC (post 1940 successor to Imperial) re-opened Croydon as a maintenance base flying the Lancastrians, Haltons and Yorks in and out unladen. But the next generation of airliners was coming as was Heathrow, Croydon's days were numbered, but operators of smaller aircraft continued for many years.

In those remaining post war years I believe that there were daily early morning newspaper flights to the Channel Islands, to return with loads such as flowers and tomatoes. I think Avro Ansons were commonly used for this task and I often heard each of the two engines run up in turn for pre-take off magneto drop checks at about 0530. One morning the take-off ended in disaster because the arcraft failed to clear the hangar at the north end of runway 17 where it was to be see "parked" on the roof of an outbuilding. Apparently the pilot suffered a broken leg but both engines fell out into the hangar damaging several aircraft inside! At least, I think that's how it happened.

I spent more than 60 years working in aviation based posts and it amuses me to think that for most of the 1950's I spent my weekdays working as a minor member of the design team producing what was to become Britain's longest serving, fastest, highest flying longest range and heaviest load carrier of the V bomber force while my weekends were linked with 30 plus year old biplane trainers, Tiger Moths. Quite a contrast.
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Old 26th May 2018, 10:31
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No Hard Runways

Prior to WW2 Aerodromes were essentially grass and aircraft operated into wind as the norm, with aircraft performance and the ability to fly on one engine not the safety issues as of now.
The pre war machines tended to have fixed UC and large wheels as this suited the natural surface available, so no one was really used to 'runways' as we know them now. When the metal monoplane became the standard design of most aircraft, the wing loading and weight coupled with smaller wheels made grass an unreliable surface due to its loss of bearing strength when wet. The RAF realised this during the expansion period and could see that it was no good having a modern fighter force that could easily be grounded by the local weather conditions, so the classic 3 runway airfield became the new standard for them. Many of the pre war civil municipal 'Airports' were never converted to this standard and Croydon was one of them. It seems ludicrous now that when Vickers test flew the Valiant prototype they did so from the still waterlogged grass surface at Wisley and he aircraft ruined the surface with huge ruts. Gatwick was well know for being prone to surface problems but the thinking of the day was INTO WIND not why is this not working. Croydons original advantage was its links to London and being closer to the popular destination of the time Paris. In fact Croydon pioneered many of the Air Traffic rues that became the norm and its terminal was a model of what we know would call passenger transit. Croydon was always surrounded on three sides by built up area's so it could never expand its directions to cater for increased performance regulations, and the Government wanted the Civil trade to go to the improving Gatwick anyway. It played its part in the Battle of Britain when needed, so all in all it did its bit for us in two conflicts, and also pioneered Civil Aviation in this country. Gets my vote.
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Old 27th May 2018, 04:52
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Employed by BOAC as a pilot in 1958 but initially used as a navigator, so to ensure that we kept our pilot licences valid BOAC established a fleet of Chipmunks at Croydon, and paid for us to fly the minimum 6 hours and 6 landings every 6 months. Croydon was closed shortly after I started, and the BOAC Chipmunks moved to White Waltham,

My logbook shows a flight from Croydon to Lympne and return on 21st March 1959 and then a flight on August 7th out of White Waltham, so obviously not the last, but clearly one of the last to fly in and out of Croydon.
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Old 27th May 2018, 08:54
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Cuckoo Hill Road, eh. I Lived in Eastcote from 3 months until I joined the RAF in 63. Remember Cuckoo Hill Road well, and now realise why the name Carne stirred a memory - my parents talked about him later in the context of another accident - cannot recall which after all this time.
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Old 27th May 2018, 11:09
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
When the metal monoplane became the standard design of most aircraft, the wing loading and weight coupled with smaller wheels made grass an unreliable surface due to its loss of bearing strength when wet. The RAF realised this during the expansion period and could see that it was no good having a modern fighter force that could easily be grounded by the local weather conditions, so the classic 3 runway airfield became the new standard for them.
I am not sure if you are referring to hard runways there? Fighter Command operated from grass in the Battle of Britain and it wasn't until August 1942 that the standard RAF pattern for a 3 hard runway configuration was laid down, although this was primarily for Bomber Command.
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Old 27th May 2018, 13:09
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I remember watching the beacon at Croydon lighting up my room at night in the '50's when I stayed with my Gran at Coulsdon.
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Old 27th May 2018, 14:20
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Runways

Rolling 20
Runways were being introduced to the existing airfields before the Battle of Britain, and certainly Kenley (Croydons sector airfield) had them in place by 1940. At the same time a peri trac and blast bays were introduced.
The multiple layout had to be available due to the need for an in to wind option for maximum efficiency. This was a 'crash' program with works in progress still going on at the start of the Battle. The sector stations were the priority with the likes of Redhill, Gatwick, Croydon, Gravesend, never getting any during hostilities. Croydon was busy during the Battle for France but the civil fleet went to Whitchurch (Bristol) afterwards. Fighter command rotated Squadrons through Croydon with Kenley being its control.
Croydon Airport sat in a shallow 'bowl' surrounded by suburbia, and could never escape the length limiting situation that was not a problem for the biplanes of the day. It seems to have had a regular mist/fog problem plus would have also been affected by the 'smogs' that prevailed. Its only concession to tarmac was the large apron and a turning area onto the most used runway. That turning area is still there and used to be used by model aircraft enthusiasts. Banstead Station had its name on the roof for years after the airport closed (Croydons revolving searchlight still in use) this was a reporting point in the early days of radio.

Last edited by POBJOY; 27th May 2018 at 14:23. Reason: Content
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Old 27th May 2018, 14:58
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Wonderful place,. Croydon, right by my school which accounted for my poor GCE results1
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Old 27th May 2018, 15:51
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Spitfire Croydon - Le Bourget record flight

In Jeffrey Quills excellent book he recalls a record attempt Croydon to Paris (approx. 200 miles as he states) in Spitfire K9814 during 1938. The aircraft was required for an exhibition in the 'Grand Palais Salon'.
The first attempt was foiled by cloud but the next day he managed the trip in 42+ minutes.
That in itself was not entirely unexpected, but he mentions returning to Croydon in the Imperial Airways schedule HP42 which took 2.5 hrs, (albeit with an excellent lunch) as he says.
I wonder what the journey time now would be from Paris to Croydon despite the huge increase in 'speeds'.
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Old 28th May 2018, 11:50
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'Sam Weller' my old metal work master at school, was an apprentice at Rollason Aircraft and Engines in the early 1940's, he then went on to be a Lancaster flight engineer for the rest of the war.

He told us boys about an amusing incident on the way to work, coming down the Purley way past the airport in a bus, and seeing what appeared to be a new football goal post sticking up behind the perimeter fence.

Once he was inside the airport he saw it was an American P47 that could not stop in time and had ended up on it's nose, against the fence!
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Old 2nd Jun 2018, 01:26
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Hi, I assume that the fleet of Chipmunks were those of Airways Aero Association I obtained my PPL around that time - Wing Com. Wenman was CFI. Instructors included Budge Burridge, Archie Cole, Ken Syrett. The Chipmunks were lined up on the tarmac and DI'd each morning - wonderful place to fly!.
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Old 2nd Jun 2018, 02:13
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
In Jeffrey Quills excellent book he recalls a record attempt Croydon to Paris (approx. 200 miles as he states) in Spitfire K9814 during 1938. The aircraft was required for an exhibition in the 'Grand Palais Salon'.
The first attempt was foiled by cloud but the next day he managed the trip in 42+ minutes.
That in itself was not entirely unexpected, but he mentions returning to Croydon in the Imperial Airways schedule HP42 which took 2.5 hrs, (albeit with an excellent lunch) as he says.
I wonder what the journey time now would be from Paris to Croydon despite the huge increase in 'speeds'.
About 20 years ago, Heathrow to CDG took about 30 min in an A320. Trouble is there was also about 20 min taxying at both ends of the journey.
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Old 2nd Jun 2018, 08:43
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Paris- Croydon

Chev Then add on check in and out times and the Hr to London distance.
Prob works about the same.
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Old 4th Jun 2018, 09:30
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Hi, I assume that the fleet of Chipmunks were those of Airways Aero Association I obtained my PPL around that time - Wing Com. Wenman was CFI. Instructors included Budge Burridge, Archie Cole, Ken Syrett. The Chipmunks were lined up on the tarmac and DI'd each morning - wonderful place to fly!.
Correct, and I remember Archie Cole !
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Old 4th Jun 2018, 17:34
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
About 20 years ago, Heathrow to CDG took about 30 min in an A320. Trouble is there was also about 20 min taxying at both ends of the journey.
In 1939 the Air France coach from their terminal in the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, out to Croydon, was scheduled at ... 30 minutes. And at a time when coaches had a national maximum speed limit of 20 mph.
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 08:50
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Croydon availability and convenience

For the machines of the day Croydon was very convenient, as it was close to London and had (for its day) a good road/train access.
For most it meant you were actually travelling in the right direction to start with, and the Airport was ideal for European routes.
It also suited the simple metal monoplane like the Lufthansa J52 due to it having large fixed wheels that coped ok with the grass surface.
UK civil airports were mainly only provided with a natural surface, so it made sense to use machines that were built with that in mind.
Considering Croydon served us in two major conflicts and also pioneered many of the facilities and operations that are now considered normal in civil transport it really could not have done more.
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