Accident Bristol 170 Freighter 21E G-AICS, Thursday 27 February 1958
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Date:Thursday 27 February 1958
Type:Silhouette image of generic B170 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Bristol 170 Freighter 21E
Owner/operator:Manx Airlines
Registration: G-AICS
MSN: 12762
Fatalities:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 42
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Winter Hill -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Isle of Man-Ronaldsway Airport (IOM/EGNS)
Destination airport:Manchester International Airport (MAN/EGCC)
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The Bristol 170 aircraft was being operated by Manx Airlines on a flight from the Isle of Man to Manchester, United Kingdom. Prior to takeoff, in order to avoid delay, a clearance to fly at 1500 ft was offered and accepted. In the light of past experience the captain anticipated that he would be cleared to a higher altitude on crossing the English coast. Between Ronaldsway and the reporting point at Squire's Gate the flight was made below cloud practically all the way. Visibility was reasonably good. The captain went below to talk to the passengers for approximately a five minute period. During his absence the first officer set the radio compass on what he thought was Wigan Beacon, but, was in fact Oldham Beacon. The Oldham Beacon is a more powerful NDB with a morse recognition signal 'MYL'. Wigan NDB has a recognition signal 'MYK'. On his return to the cockpit the captain took over the piloting of the aircraft. He assumed that the radio compass was tuned in to Wigan.
Just prior to 09:38 hours the aircraft reported to Preston Control "abeam Blackpool at this time estimating Wigan at 43". At 09:39 the Preston controller radioed: "You are cleared to Wigan 1500 feet remaining contact. Call Manchester Zone for onward clearance."
At 09:44, one minute after it would have been over the Wigan NDB, the flight was in cloud and out of contact with the ground. Manchester Control the radioed, "Charlie Sierra will you make a right turn immediately on to a heading of two five zero. I have a faint paint on radar which indicates you're going over towards the hills." Shortly thereafter in the course of making the right turn as ordered, the aircraft crashed on the northeast slope of Winter Hill, at a height of approximately 1460 ft.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The error of the first officer in tuning the radio compass on Oldham Beacon instead of on Wigan Beacon. A contributory cause was the failure of the captain to check that the radio compass was tuned on the correct beacon."


ICAO Accident Digest, Circular 59-AN/54 (83-92)


  • 12th worst accident in 1958
  • 4th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 4th worst accident of this aircraft type at the time



photo (c) Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (UK); Winter Hill; 27 February 1958

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