Accident Miles M.57 Aerovan 4 G-AISF, Monday 29 April 1957
ASN logo
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:Monday 29 April 1957
Type:Miles M.57 Aerovan 4
Owner/operator:Meridian Air Maps
Registration: G-AISF
MSN: 6396
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Manchester International Airport, Ringway, Manchester -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Manchester International (Ringway) (MAN/EGCC)
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Meridian Air Maps operated Aerovan 4 G-AISF on aerial survey work from 18 October 1955 until it crashed on takeoff from Manchester (Ringway) on 29 April 1957. The accident killed the pilot Jean Lennox Bird, the first woman to receive RAF wings, and two passengers.

According to an eyewitness report (see link #7): "I witnessed the crash at Ringway, I was 11 years old at the time and had gone to watch the planes with my father, we were stood near the Fairey engineering end of the airport.

The aircraft had taken off but suddenly my father who was ex RAF shouted "that's not right, throttle up go back up", the aircraft lost height and hit the runway hard, bouncing back up in the air, the undercarriage did not brake, and the aircraft continued bouncing along the runway my father was still shouting "go back up, go back up", the aircraft did not seem to slow down, workers at Fairey were then running out of the hangers.

The aircraft hit the metal perimeter fence which flipped it over it then slid on its back across the B road and into a field, there was no fire, several people from Fairey were soon on the scene and a blue van pulled into the field, this had a ladder which was used to help down some survivors that had climbed out on to the back of the aircraft.

I can remember this as if it was yesterday, sadly I have only just found out that the female pilot and another person were killed in the crash"

According to the wikipedia entry on the biography and death of Jean Lennox-Bird (see link #4):

"Bird's main occupation in the 1950s was in the developing field of photographic aerial survey, working for Meridian Air Maps. On 29 April 1957, she was surveying the proposed route of a new road, when her 'Aerovan' twin-engined freight plane crashed and she was killed. The coroner's verdict was accidental death, although evidence was given that the aircraft had been fitted with an incorrect spare part."

She was 44 years old. The conclusion that this ‘did not amount to culpable negligence’ would not stand up to scrutiny today. The evidence suggests that it was gross negligence that took the life of this trail blazing pilot. Like her father, Jean was buried at sea. A Jean Lennox Bird trophy was created by the British Women Pilots’ Association in her honour.

Registration G-AISF cancelled by the Secretary of State, Air Ministry 24 July 1957 as "P.W.F.U." ("Permanently Withdrawn From use")


1. Coventry Evening Telegraph - Monday 29 April 1957
2. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix 1 May 1957, p12
3. Jackson, A.J., British Civil Aircraft 1919–1959, vol 2. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1960.
11. National Archives:
14. Bordon Herald 12 August 2018:§ionIs=News&searchyear=2018


Miles M57 Aerovan 4 G-AISF of Channel Islands Air Freight at Manchester (Ringway) Airport 29 May 1955:Miles Aerovan 1955

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
11-Oct-2010 12:14 TB Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
15-Nov-2012 13:06 Baley Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants]
05-Dec-2012 05:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
28-Dec-2012 04:36 TB Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jan-2018 18:01 TB Updated [Source]
02-Apr-2020 21:17 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
02-Apr-2020 21:19 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
04-Aug-2020 00:05 Dr. John Smith Updated [Nature, Source, Narrative]
04-Aug-2020 00:07 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code]
04-Aug-2020 12:40 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314