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-   -   Hastings Wheels Up at Khartoum. (https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/367733-hastings-wheels-up-khartoum.html)

forget 28th Mar 2009 15:58

Hastings Wheels Up at Khartoum.
A friend in the pub just happened to mention that hed once done a wheels up at Khartoum in a Hastings. Sort of thing youd drop into any flagging conversation. Anyway, he showed the scar on his leg to prove it. His old man worked for the Air Ministry and he was on his way to Aden (?) for school holidays.

Ive promised to dig out all the details, crew names, aircraft reg, and photos of actual aircraft etc. Trouble is, I cant find anything. The accident was in 1956, of this he is sure, but the only Hastings accident/incident in 56 was WD483, gear collapsed, Aden.

And the only accident at Khartoum was in 1959, TG522, engine failure(s) after take-off, crashed returning. 5 Dead (all crew) all pax survived, 25. (As he was thirteen at the time I'm developing a suspicion that he may have been aboard this aircraft, with the details withheld from him.)

Im pretty sure that any wheels up at Khartoum would have produced a write off but no mention anywhere. Any ideas?

Kieron Kirk 28th Mar 2009 19:42

If you have not, try the link below.

Hastings Bangs and Prangs and Splashes and Crashes


forget 28th Mar 2009 19:59

Thanks I've tried that.

pammy727 14th Aug 2014 21:47

hi my name is Pamela, I am daughter to Anthony sykes (tony). I have just come across your post regards Khartoum air crash a/c tg522.
my father was a survivor of this crash and has been looking for other survivors for a long time. I told hi I would have a look on the net and here I am. are you still intouch with the chap who thinks he may have been on the same flight as a boy? may 29th 1959.

ian16th 15th Aug 2014 14:22

And the only accident at Khartoum was in 1959, TG522, engine failure(s) after take-off, crashed returning. 5 Dead (all crew) all pax survived, 25. (As he was thirteen at the time I'm developing a suspicion that he may have been aboard this aircraft, with the details withheld from him.)
My increasingly fallible remaining grey cells, indicate that there was a Hastings that crashed in Libya, El Adem or Idris (Castle Benito), spring to mind. But with similar results. The flight deck crew died and all the passengers survived. This was punted at the time as a great example of the effectiveness of rear facing passenger seats.

John Farley 15th Aug 2014 15:03


The RAF records for Hastings that became Cat 4 or 5 show 17 serials:

TG508 7 Mar 62 Thorney Island
TG522 29 May 59 Khartoum
TG575 4 May 66 El Adam
TG577 6 July 65 Abingdon
TG579 1 Mar 60 Gan
TG580 3 July 59 Gan
TG584 13 Sep 55 Yorkshire
TG610 17 Dec 63 Thorney Island
TG615 21 Oct 57 Colerne
TG624 27 Dec 61 Aldergrove
WD483 9 Apr 56 Strip near Aden
WD484 2 Mar 55 Boscombe Down
WD491 9 Jun 67 West Raynham
WD497 29 May 61 Seletar Singapore
WD498 10 Oct 61 El Adam
WJ341 26 Jul 55 Abingdon
WJ342 23 Jan 61 Kenya

Clearly several of those could be what you remenber.


JW411 15th Aug 2014 18:23

John Farley:

You have missed the epic crash of TG574 on 20 December 1950. The 53 Sqn crew led by Flt Lt Graham Tunnadine departed El Adem for Castel benito with several slip crews on board heading home for Christmas.

42 minutes after take-off, a blade came off No.2 propeller, sliced through the fuselage and severed all of the tail controls. It also struck Flt Lt Bennett who was resting on the bunk and took his right arm off. The three remaining blades on No.2 were now hopelessly out of balance so the entire engine was torn from its mounting and fell off taking the port undercarriage and a large section of the leading edge with it.

To cut a long but magnificent story short, Tunnadine managed to stabilise the aeroplane using asymmetric thrust on the remaining three engines and got the baggage and crews down the back to move forward and back to control pitch.

He diverted to Benina (Benghazi) and almost made it. At the last moment two crew members in the back had to dive into a rearward-facing seat for landing.

the aircraft hit gently rising ground just a few hundred metres short of the runway, bounced and then the starboard wing dug in and the aircraft ended up on its back.

ALL OF THE PASSENGERS survived without injury due to their rearward-facing seats. Tunnadine, his co-pilot (Sqn Ldr James) and the navigator (F/S Johns) were dead. the F/E (Sgt Bain) was seriously injured and died on 24 December.

Sadly, Flt Lt Bennett, who had been struck by the departing propeller blade, died of his injuries.

The other hero of the day was Sqn Ldr Brown. He was the Station Medical Officer at Abingdon and had moved forward to give Flt Lt Bennet medical assistance. he was told that he should go back and strap in for the landing but chose to stay with his patient. He paid for it with his life and was awarded the George Medal posthumously.

All of this happened at night.

Flt Lt Tunnadine and his crew almost achieved the impossible. As it so happened, everyone in the back survived. In fact, one of the deadheading navigators told me that he was driving an ambulance within 20 minutes of them hitting the ground!

John Farley 15th Aug 2014 19:31

Thanks JW

Totally my fault.

My reference did not go back further that 1954. So nothing wrong with it!


Cornish Jack 16th Aug 2014 12:32

I believe that WD 483 - strip near Aden was, in fact, at Ataq.

JW411 16th Aug 2014 15:43


I came across this photograph in one of our albums. It looks like the result of a wheels-up landing. All I know is that the photograph was taken at Habbaniya (Iraq) and that 53 Squadron were not involved. The original shot is not very sharp but I can see that the radio callsign on the nose is MOGCJ.

oxenos 16th Aug 2014 19:20

Wheels up landing? Or did the undercarriage retract while the engines were being run on the ground?

ian16th 16th Aug 2014 19:32


That is probably the incident in the back of my mind.

Though the 16th Entry of Boy Entrants attestation date was later, 22 May 52, during that summer, those of us at Yatesbury, went to Lynham for 'air experience' flights. My 1st two flights were in Ansons and my 3rd flight was in a Hastings, where we came across the rearward facing seats for the 1st time. We were regaled with how much safer they were and the survival rate at a 'recent' incident was used to illustrate the fact.

This was probably about 18 months after the TG574 incident.

Warmtoast 17th Aug 2014 18:33

There's an interesting article where the advantages of rearward facing seats were put forward. The article entitled “On Going Forward Backwards” appeared in Flight Magazine for 16th July 1954 here:

1954 | 2070 | Flight Archive

This inter-alia states:

…………..The advantages claimed for the aft-facing seat can be summed up very simply. A large majority of casualties in aircraft accidents result from the deceleration produced by impact with the ground, varying from, say, 1g in a smooth belly-landing and 20-40g in more severe crashes leaving the fuselage wholly or partly intact. Properly supported, the human frame can withstand the highest deceleration likely to be encountered in any crash which is basically “survivable” — one in which complete crushing, burning or disintegration of the fuselage does not occur. Protagonists of the backward-facing seat maintain that this is the best method of providing such protection because (a) it places a shield between the body and the most likely sources of injury and (b) because the back of the human body is stronger than the front. Expressed in its simplest terms, the argument for the aft-facing seat is that in any given set of circumstances it is safer than the forward-facing seat.

Evidence to support this theory is convincing but by no means conclusive from a technical viewpoint. Indeed, as no two accidents can be identical in their nature, it is difficult to see how conclusive proof could ever be obtained. Essential details of the major accidents to aircraft equipped with backward-facing seats are as follows:
On December 20th, 1950, an R.A.F. Hastings crashed at Benina after an airscrew blade had torn into the fuselage, severely injuring one of the crew and jamming the elevator and rudder controls. While attempting to land on two engines it undershot and crashed heavily. All five members of the crew were killed (a point which indicates the severity of the impact without necessarily affecting the seating controversy), but the 26 passengers, who, with one exception, were in 15g rearward-facing seats, escaped without serious injury.
On February 18th, 1951, an R.A.F. Valetta crashed into a wooded hill near Stockholm during a single-engined overshoot in bad visibility. One of the crew of three was killed and all 18 passengers, in 20g rearward-facing seats, escaped with minor injuries.
Another Valetta crashed near Boscombe Down on November 25th, 1952, after being in collision with a Venom. The nine passengers (paratroops) stepped out of their rearward facing seats unhurt, and the crew of four all received injuries.
In a third Valetta accident, at Lyneham, on January 20th this year, one of the crew of five was killed and four injured; the six passengers, all in aft-facing seats, received only very slight injuries.
Both theory and practice, then, show that there is a strong case for fitting rearward-facing seats in transport aircraft.
...and here in this view looking forward is how the backward-facing seats looked like in the RAF's Britannias


Fareastdriver 17th Aug 2014 20:19

Nothing wrong with backward facing seats. When I go by rail I always reserve a rearwards facing seat. Anything you want to have a long look at doesn't involve breaking your neck as it passes behind.

Looking forward means that you can see the accident about to happen. Looking backwards means that it's all over when you get know all about it.

Why die all tensed up.

ian16th 18th Aug 2014 09:43

The BEA Viscounts that flew between Leed/Bradford and LHR, circa 1973-6 had one row of rearward facing seats.

I always made a beeline for one. Most pax avoided them.

DaveReidUK 18th Aug 2014 13:55

The BEA Viscounts that flew between Leed/Bradford and LHR, circa 1973-6 had one row of rearward facing seats.
As did the Tridents.

I always made a beeline for one.
Very good. :O

JW411 18th Aug 2014 16:48


You might well be right in thinking that it could be a gear collapse with engines running (or whilst taxiing even?). I never flew the Hastings but it is my understanding that the tailplane on the Mk.2 was increased in span and mounted in a lower position on the fuselage than the Mk.1.

This looks like a Mk.2 to me. I have been through the Mk.2 write-offs and can't find one that fits so my guess is that the aircraft was rebuilt and returned to service.

Is there anyone out there who can decipher the radio callsign? That would tell us which airframe was involved. The way it worked was:

MOGCJ could be translated as follows:

M = British military aircraft
O = Transport Command
G = HP Hastings
C = Squadron or Unit
J = Individual aircraft

So, if someone out there can translate the last two letters, then we might be able to find the story from the aircraft's record card (F78).

Rossian 18th Aug 2014 18:44

Only because I'm curious....
.....what did the OP do to get banned? Was because of something in this thread or for misdemeanours elsewhere? Seems strange.

The Ancient Mariner

The reason that another maritime BOF like oxenos has ventured into these hallowed halls is as follows:

1953 east coast floods. My F-i-L was at Aldergrove and was summoned to a meeting in London and was flown there in a Hastings from the Met Flt. At the conclusion of the meeting he went back out to Manston expecting to fly back home. Instead they were commandeered to take sandbags (empty) to Holland. They filled the aircraft right to the back door and he then closed the door and sat encased in sandbags until they arrived at where they were required. Unload then back to Manston. They did this for three days on the trot and finally arrived back at Aldergrove in a snowstorm, filthy, dishevelled and hungry. Only one mainwheel came down; the other completely refused to budge. The pilot elected for a one wheel landing which he executed immaculately. My F-i-L reckoned he owed his life to Flt Lt Ignatowski, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a dining-in at Ballykelly many years later (210 Sqn 50th anniversary maybe?)

con-pilot 18th Aug 2014 20:08

Nothing wrong with backward facing seats.
Well yes and no.

As far as safety in an accident, yes it is better.

But from a cost/operational perspective, there is a lot of things wrong with rear facing seats. We decided to install rearward facing seat in our 727s, not all of then, just the first two front rows and one row mid-cabin. This was to allow some of the guards on the aircraft to face the prisoners on takeoff and landing.

You cannot just turn the seat around, they must specially stressed for the aft facing position and they weigh quite a bit more than the normal forward facing seats.

Along with weight and cost, there is a physiological problem with aft facing seats, people that tend to suffer from airsickness tend to become airsick quicker and more often when riding on an aircraft facing backward. Why I've not a clue, but that was what we were told.

So what did we do, turned the normal seats on the two front rows and the mid-cabin row around anyway. Normal FAA regulations didn't apply to us. "Public Use Aircraft Operations".

Then about a year later, we got a new Director of Operations and he ordered the seats to be turned around the right way.

India Four Two 19th Aug 2014 06:38

Along with weight and cost, there is a physiological problem with aft facing seats, people that tend to suffer from airsickness tend to become airsick quicker and more often when riding on an aircraft facing backward. Why I've not a clue, but that was what we were told.

Some years ago, I flew several times in a chartered Navajo with "club-seating" on bumpy summer days in Alberta. I was doing a lot of gliding at the time, so I was quite tolerant of thermal turbulence, but I definitely noticed a tendency to become queasy more quickly if I was in an aft-facing seat.

Your photo of the wheels-up Hastings vividly takes me back to a near-head-on encounter with a Hastings west of Reading during my PPL. Exactly the same aspect, but about 50' higher!

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