Accident Blackburn Mercury III Monoplane Unregistered, Wednesday 6 December 1911
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Date:Wednesday 6 December 1911
Type:Blackburn Mercury III Monoplane
Owner/operator:Filey School of Flying
Registration: Unregistered
MSN: 4
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Filey Beach, Filey, North Yorkshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Filey Beach, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:Filey Beach, North Yorkshire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
6.12.1911: Blackburn Mercury III, owned by Blackburn Aircraft Ltd and operated by the Filey School of Flying was written off (destroyed) when the wings came off while pulling out of dive, over Filey Beach, Filey, North Yorkshire. The aeroplane was estimated to be doing 150 mph at the time of the crash (the top speed was only 75 mph). The pilot was thrown from the aircraft and sadly died of a broken neck. The student was rescued from the aircraft but died less than an hour later of the severe injuries he sustained:

Hubert Oxley (aged 25) killed (Chief Flying Instructor)
Robert John Weiss (aged 29) killed (Student Pilot under instruction)

Flight Magazine of the time published a letter from Robert Blackburn stating what he thought the cause of the accident was down to. He stated that the pilot was in the habit of "making steep descents at a very acute angle, and had lately done a great many of these from moderate heights with several of the aerodrome members as passengers". Mr Blackburn stated that he thought the strain on the wings whilst pulling out of such a dive would be great and the machine could not withstand it. "In this case he did a sudden dive over the town of Filey, from a height of 600 feet", the pilot was in a habit of making these dives prior to landing and whilst pulling out of the dive at about 100 feet, and lower than where the hanger was located, he would then climb and land. He made such a dive with Mr Blackburn himself a passenger, who warned him of such dangers in the load on the wings in pulling out of dives from heights. The pilot probably did not think this danger was as great and ignored these warnings, this was probably the first such accident caused by this reason.

The aircraft was powered by a 60-hp Renault engine and it may have been used by the Filey flying school but was still owned by Blackburn Ltd. Although it had no registration or serial number, it is known to have been the fourth example, following on from the Mercury I (prototype, one built) and the Mercury II (two built).




Blackburn Mercury 1 (Nigel Coates) Blackburn Mercury replica at the Yorkshire air museum 2009

Revision history:

16-Nov-2018 22:50 Dr.John Smith Added
29-Jun-2024 21:55 Nepa Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Operator]

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