Accident Robinson Redwing Mk III G-ABRL, Tuesday 5 February 1935
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Date:Tuesday 5 February 1935
Type:Robinson Redwing Mk III
Owner/operator:Robinson Aircraft Co. Ltd.
Registration: G-ABRL
MSN: 11
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Cotonou -   Benin
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Gao, Mali
Destination airport:Cotonou, Benin
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
First registered (C of R 3397) 15.10.31 as G-ABRL to Robinson Aircraft Co Ltd., Croydon Airport, Croydon, Surrey. Sole Redwing Mk.III. The Mk.III was an unsuccessful development, with a small wing and faired undercarriage. As it was not successful, G-ABRL was converted back to a standard Mk.II

It appears the Robinson Redwing company transferred from Croydon to Blue Barns Aerodrome (West of the village of Ardleigh, roughly 4 nautical miles North East of Colchester, Essex) in 1932 and the Eastern Counties Aeroplane Club operated three of their side-by-side two seat biplanes powered by a 80 hp Armstrong Siddeley Genet IIA radial engine. These were: G-ABRL, G-ABRM and G-ABNX, apparently housed in one hangar.

In May 1932 the company purchased the aerodrome at Gatwick (Lowfield Heath) to operate the Redwing Flying School. It appears that the company returned to Croydon in February 1934. Obviously the move was unwise and costly. Could this be an early example of a company being attracted to a ‘lower cost base’, (led by the company accountant?), only to realise they had forgotten to take into account both the needs of their customers and where most of their customers either lived and/or ‘shopped’? A very basic business lesson still not learnt, even by some major enterprises even today.

The Redwing that travelled furthest was the ex-Mk III, G-ABRL which left Croydon, flown by Mrs Keith Miller, set for Cape Town. She crossed the Sahara after 21 days, reaching Gao in Mali on 24.1.35. A few days later, on 5.2.35, the aircraft had to make a forced landing and was wrecked on hitting a tree near Cotonou in Benin. (The aircraft was not re-registered to her - presumably it was "on loan"?)

Registration G-ABRL cancelled by the Air Ministry 2.12.35 due to "destruction or permanent withdrawl from use of aircraft"



Revision history:

06-Dec-2017 22:28 Dr. John Smith Added
30-Oct-2020 09:36 Sergey L. Updated [Narrative]

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