Accident Cessna 310F G-ARNU, Tuesday 9 January 1962
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Date:Tuesday 9 January 1962
Time:17:28 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic C310 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 310F
Owner/operator:GKN Steel Company Ltd
Registration: G-ARNU
MSN: 310-0142
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Munsbach -   Luxembourg
Phase: Approach
Nature:Executive
Departure airport:Cardiff-Wales Airport, Rhoose (CWL)
Destination airport:Luxembourg (ELLX)
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Narrative:
Crashed into wooded country, at Munsbach, Luxembourg, during a missed approach, due poor weather. Per a contemporary report in "Flight International" magazine 20 December 1962:

"In the report by the Luxembourg Ministry of Transport into the accident to Cessna 31 G-ARNU on January 9,1962, recently published by the Ministry of Aviation, the authors of the report observe that the pilot's decision to continue to attempt to land under weather conditions below the rninima for the airport was probably influenced by the importance to his passenger of landing at Luxembourg in order to keep a dinner engagement. The pilot was Frederick William Mellows of British Executive Air Services Ltd; the passenger was Henry William Allen Waring, deputy chairman and general managing director of the GKN Steel Company; the aircraft was owned by GKN and operated by BEAS.

In summarizing the accident, the report states that the pilot attempted an ILS landing at night under very bad meteorological conditions on runway 25 of Luxembourg Airport. On short finals the pilot did not see the runway and did not use the procedure prescribed for a missed approach.

The aircraft turned to the left, struck a tree 1,200 metres from the runway threshold and crashed 900 metres further on at the bottom of a valley. There was no fire on impact. The two occupants of the aircraft were killed and the aircraft itself was completely wrecked.

The Cessna had taken off from Cardiff at 3.02 p.m. on January 9, bound for Luxembourg on an IFR flight plan. The estimated elapsed time for the flight was 2 hours 24 minutes, and sufficient fuel was aboard for a flight duration of 4 hours 30 minutes. The accident occurred at 5.28 pm.

Discussing the evidence, the authors of the report state that the aircraft was not overloaded, its centre of gravity was correct and it carried sufficient fuel not only to make a fresh approach procedure but also to fly to Brussels, the planned alternate aerodrome. There was no evidence of engine failure. The authors state:— "G-ARNU flew over the first Calvert bar at 17.26 and arrived to the right of the centre line in line with the runway threshold. At 17.36, i.e., ten minutes later, the pilot of an Aero Commander, who was attempting an ILS landing, also arrived at the Calvert lights to the right of the centre line. He attributed his displacement to a question of pilotage.

He came down to 200 feet and saw the moving glow of the EFAS (Electronic Flash Approach System) but was unable to distinguish the Calvert crossbars which were merely a weak halo. He carried out the normal missed approach procedure and was able to land ten minutes later, the meteorological conditions having slightly improved.

"This evidence gives reason to assume that the pilot of G-ARNU, also arriving in a similar position, saw the moving glow of the EFAS. He probably abandoned his instrument flight in order to look out to the left, then to turn to the left, so as to locate the lights visually. During the time probably taken to look for these fights, in addition to the time required for readjustment of vision inside the cockpit, the pilot allowed his aircraft to lose height, since the top of the tree hit is ten metres below the runway threshold elevation...

"The pilot ought therefore to have broken off his descent at 65 metres. He could then either have waited for an improvement in the weather or, as indicated in the flight plan, have diverted his flight to Brussels where the weather conditions were much better.

The pilot, however, attempted the landing and did not use the procedure prescribed for missed approach."

Sources:

The History of Oxford Airport
Geoff Phillips
Bookmarque Publishing 1996
SBN 1-870519-31-0
British Civil Aircraft Registers 1919-1999
Compiled by Michael Austen
Air Britain (Historians) Ltd 1999
ISBN 0 85130 281 5

1. http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/HistoricalMaterial/G-ARNU.pdf
2. https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1962/1962

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
06-Jul-2009 03:27 VHKDK Added
23-Jan-2010 11:40 John Baker Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
29-Jul-2012 16:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
18-Jun-2013 11:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
25-Nov-2016 20:07 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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