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The Year 1955

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   January  

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crashed crew photo seat
13th January 1955
Douglas
A4D‑1 137815   crashed during high‑speed run, trying to break speed record, near Victorville, CA, USA pilot ejected but chute failed to open   Douglas

   February 

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crashed crew seat photo
9th February 1955
Martin
B‑57B 52‑1517   engine blew up during delivery flight, crashed near Washington DC, MD, USA pilot killed    
navigator ejected but was injured    
10th February 1955
RAF
Sabre F4 XB839/X 26 Sqn Dived into the ground from low level eight miles from
Oldenberg, West Germany after take off
The pilot Fg Off Franci "Frank" Horace Rickwood ejected but was dragged back along the aircraft,
struck the tail and was killed
NAA
15th February 1955
RN
Sea Vampire T22 XA152/LM239 736 Sqn Belly landed at Ardivot Farm two miles south of
Lossiemouth, Morayshire after the engine flamed out
ejected   Martin-Baker
ejected   Martin-Baker
26th February 1955
RAF
Meteor Mk.8 WE884   Crashed near Lonham, Norfolk [Waterbeach] following fire in
the air due to bird strike
F/O. K.N. Carpenter ejected at 2,500ft., 200kts.   Martin-Baker Mk.2E
26th February 1955
NAA
F‑100A 53‑1659   controls jammed at low‑level, Supersonic ejection George F. Smith ejected at over Mach 1  at 35,000ft in vertical dive at over 700mp.h and survived - quite badly injured - returned to flying later   NAA

   March

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crash / test crew photo seat
9th March 1955
 
      Canada Sqn. Ldr. John Fifield ejected at 3,000ft., 300mph  
13th March 1955
RN
Sea Hawk FGA4   H.M.S. Centaur suffered structural failure in the Mediterranean Sub-Lieut. M. Cahill ejected through the canopy at 500ft., 450kts. Slight cut on eyebrow and
bruised ankle
  Martin-Baker Mk.2D automatic

 April  

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crash / test crew photo seat
 3rd April 1955
USAF
F‑86D 52‑3878 326th FIS   pilot ejected safely   NAA
12th April 1955
RCAF
CF-100       Pilot F/O L.E. Sparrow ejected    
Monday 18th April 1955
USAF
North American F-86D Sabre 51-8488 Perrin AFB, Sherman, Texas Mid-air collision at 7,000 ft with T-33A 50-422  10 miles south west of Gainesville, Texas 1st Lt. Thomas L. Hosch
ejected
Landed near Highway 51
NAA
18th April 1955
Lockheed

Herman R. "Fish" Salmon and the XF‑104
[2nd prototype]
53‑7787
Crashed during gun‑firing trials in Mojave desert, CA, USA  

pilot Herman Richard "Fish" Salmon ejected safely at 50,000 feet

Stanley - C-1 downward seat
  Years earlier Salmon had bailed out from a test aircraft (details appreciated)
In 1980, he was killed in the crash of a Super Constellation he was ferrying to Alaska
19th April 1955
RAF
Meteor Mk.8 WH378.   mid-air collison with Meteor WK726 Cpt. C. G. Gillespie (USAF) ejected   Martin-Baker Mk.2E
19th April 1955
RAF
Meteor Mk.8 WK726   mid-air collison with Meteor WH378 S/L G. J. Storey   Martin-Baker Mk.2E
21st April 1955
RAF
Venom Mk.1 WR343 M.E.A.F   Pilot F/O D.A. Kestrup ejected.   Martin-Baker Mk.2F
22nd April 1955
USN
F9F-6       ENS W. L. Underhill
ejected
  Grumman
25th April 1955
USN
F9F   VU-7
Brown's Field
Four miles off the coast at La Jolla Lt. David W. Barnes
ejected
   
25th April 1955
USAF
F‑84F 52‑6557 81st FBG stalled and spun into the ground, 4 M ESE of RAF Bentwaters, UK pilot ejected safely   Republic
26th April 1955
USAF
B‑57B 52‑1538 Randolph AFB Randolph AFB, TX, USA ejected safely    
ejected safely    

 May  

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crash / test crew seat photo
10th May 1955
RAF
Meteor Mk.8 WA819   Loss of control, diving Pilot ejected through canopy at 10,000 ft, hit fin. Parachute burst due to high opening speed.   Martin-Baker Mk.2E
12th May 1955
USN
TV‑2 137935 NAATC Kingsville, TX, USA engine flamed out ejected safely    
ejected safely    
13th May 1955
RAF
Venom Mk.1 WR358 M.E.A.F Loss of control, spinning Pilot F/O R. C. K. Alcock ejected at 16,000 ft.   Martin-Baker Mk2F

   June    

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crash / test crew photo seat
1st June 1955
USAF
F-84F   561st SFS,12th SFW, 2nd SAC Fort Stockton, Texas Major David Overton Williams Jr. [AFRes] ejected
[personal testimony]
  Republic
2nd June 1955
R.Neth.A.F
Meteor Mk.8.       Pilot Simon G. Snip made the first emergency escape using an automatic
ejection seat when his aircraft collided at 20,000ft., 300kt.
   
16th June 1955
RAF
Sabre F.4 XD712/S   over the Humber Estuary following
fire-warning light.
Pilot ejected   NAA
22nd June 1955
Martin-Baker
      Benson Sqn. Ldr. John Fifield ejected at 2,000ft., 230mph.   Martin-Baker
22nd June 1955
USAF
F‑84F   103rd FBS PA ANG

Lost control on approach to Hancock Field. Crashed Cicero Center, near Hancock field, NY, USA

pilot ejected safely   Republic
24th June 1955
RAF
Meteor Mk.9 WL265 2 T.A.F Fire in the air following collision with ground object Pilot ejected through canopy at 200 ft. Separated from parachute   Martin-Baker Mk.2E
28th June 1955
RCAF
CF-100       Pilot F/O J. Flury   Martin-Baker
F/O C.S. Forest   Martin-Baker
30th June 1955
RN
Sea Hawk WF214   crashed into the sea 5 miles north east of Buckie after striking the drogue
wire of the TT aircraft
The pilot ejected too low and  pilot was killed   Martin-Baker

   July     

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crash / test crew photo seat
5th July 1955
Vickers Supermarine
Prototype 525 VX138   Spinning. Crashed and caught fire at Idmiston, Salisbury Lt. Cdr.
Anthony Pickell, A.&A.E.E. ejected too late, and through canopy. Parachute did not have time to prperly deploy. Died of his injuries
  Martin-Baker Mk.2
7th July 1955
North American
 F-100A-1-NA Super Sabre 52-5757 crashed east of Palmdale CA flat spin Bob Hoover ejected
[also bailed-out from F-84 Thunderjet - injured - stopped his X-1 flights - DATE ???]
  NAA
7th July 1955
RAF
Hunter F.4 WT762 247 Squadron Engine cut shortly after take off from Farnborough for air
display and the aircraft crashed near Fleet
Pilot ejected too low at 300 ft - was killed.   Martin-Baker Mk.2H
12th July 1955
RAF
Hunter F.1 WT581/8 43 Squadron Crashed 1 mile west north west of Leuchars after the engine cut Pilot ejected too low at 250 - 500 ft - was killed.   Martin-Baker Mk.2H
12th July 1955 Martin B‑578 53‑3874 Martin crashed on pre‑delivery test flight ejected safely    
ejected safely    
15th July  1955
USAF
Republic F-84F 52-7040A 510th Fighter Bomber Squadron

 Langley AFB, Virginia

 
over Athens, Alabama, USA 1st Lt. Frank J. Iamarino ejected Republic
FEEDBACK

Regarding crash of Airforce F-84F Thunderstreak  [52-7040A] on 16 July, 1955 near Athens, Alabama.  I was an eight year old boy at the time of the crash.  I did not get to speak with 1st  Lt Iamarino, of course, He was pretty shook up as can be expected.  I visited the impact site shortly after it occurred.  As you might imagine, I was awestruck at the scene.  Having wondered for years whatever became of the pilot, I finally contacted the office of public information at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery a few short years ago.  The lady I spoke with filled me in on the few details she had available all these years later.  I just came across this website today and was delighted to know that Mr. Lamarino was still living as recently as 2007.  I would love to email him if it is possible to do so.  I have told this story to my son and my grandsons and carried them to the site of the crash and the site where Lt. Iamarino came down in his chute.  Thank you for making this site available to the public.  You have made my day.

Sincerely and thankfully

Ray Smith
Athens, Alabama
in email 12th November 2008 

19th July 1955
RAF
Venom Mk.1 WK469 2nd T.A.F Tinnum, Germany F/O G.H. Winspear ejected - injured ankle on landing   Martin-Baker Mk.2F
19th July 1955
RAF
Venom Mk.1 WK480 145 Sqn Hornum, Germany F/O J. D. H. Price ejected at 15,000 ft - injured ankle on landing   Martin-Baker Mk.2F
19th July 1955
RAF
Venom Mk.1 WR362 M.E.A.F RAF Khormaksar Pilot Officer Richard J. Breakspear ejected through canopy, altitude too low, did not survive   Martin-Baker Mk.2F
                 

   August     

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crash / test crew photo seat
3rd August 1955
RAF
Hunter F.5 WN989 263 Squadron 7 miles east of Brawdsey, Suffolk Flying Officer Hedley Molland ejected 25,000', mach 1.1 - his left arm was broken on ejection as he only used his left hand to initiate ejection

 

see also 29-9-1965 when as Flt. Lt. he ejected for 2nd time from Lightning F3 XP739

 Martin-Baker Mk. 2H
ejection seat (not fitted with leg-restraints)
During air combat training the pilot made a cine attack on his target and followed it into a dive from 37,000'. At 31,000' the dive steepened uncontrollably and the aircraft diving vertically into the sea 7 miles east of Brawdsey, Suffolk.  The pilot survived the supersonic ejection with injuries  and was rescued. The accident was finally attributed to the probable effects of using flaps at high speeds as an aid to combat manoeuverability

Supersonic Bale-out .

f HEN his Hunter failed to respond to

the controls in a very-high-speed dive

off the coast of East Anglia recently, F/O.

H. Molland ejected at a speed thought to

be in the region of Mach 1.1. The height

was about 25,000ft. He fell into the sea

and was picked up almost immediately by

a target-towing launch. It was found that

he had suffered a broken arm, two black

eyes and a fractured pelvis. His crash

helmet, watch, gloves and one shoe were

blown off during ejection. The parachute

opened automatically at about 10,000ft and

speed of descent was normal. Molland was

unable, because of his injuries, to inflate

his dinghy in the water. He is thought to

be the second man ever to have baled out

successfully at such a speed; the first was

an American.

FLIGHT 18th November 1955 p792

Supersonic Bale-outs

IS one to assume that the news that a Hunter pilot had successfully

baled out at supersonic speed was released to the Press

by the Air Ministry? If so, why was the Ministry apparently

unaware that at least one, and probably two, American pilots

had ejected at supersonic speeds and survived the ordeal? So far

as I know, no reference was made in British newspapers to the

American escapes, one involving a Grumman Cougar and the

other a North American F-100.

One is led to infer that the Air Forces concerned are slow to

exchange information on such incidents. Surely this is wrong.

There is nothing to be lost, and a great deal to be gained, from

an international sharing of all experiences yielding data on problems

of survival at high speeds and altitudes. Publication of such

data in the aeronautical Press (subject to normal security .regulations)

is also to be recommended, as a means of ensuring that

survival information reaches squadron aircrews without delay,

instead of filtering slowly through "official channels."

London, W.I. ROGER BAKER.

FLIGHT 2nd November 1955 p849

 

12th August 1955
RCAF
CF-100       Flt. Lt. D. R. Mair   Martin-Baker
F/O J. L. C. Filiatrault   Martin-Baker
12th August 1955
RN
Wyvern       Lt. A.M. Steers ejected   Martin-Baker
17th August 1955
RAF
British prototype aircraft       Mr. G. J. Horne ejected   Martin-Baker
18th August 1955
RAF
Hunter F.4 WT714 14 Squadron collided with WT807 at 40,000' and crashed 3 miles north east
of Bremen
Flg. Off. William Deluce ejected  seat had
been damaged in the collision and although it fired, the parachute became entangled with it and he was killed.
  Martin-Baker Mk.2H
18th August 1955
RAF
Hunter F.4 WT807 4 Squadron collided with WT714 at 40,000' and crashed 3 miles north east of Bremen and lost a wing Sgt. P.M. Stone, ejected through canopy at 40,000 ft. slightly injured   Martin-Baker Mk.2H
19th August 1955
RCAF
CF-100       F/O J.A. Gulyes   Martin-Baker
F/O A.J. Legg   Martin-Baker
31st August 1955 USAF F-94B   Palmdale,
Los Angeles
Crashed in desert northeast of Lancaster, having avoided populated area Lockheed Test pilot
Stanley A. Beltz
44
Did not eject
killed
Lockheed

   September     

                 
Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crash / test crew photo seat
2nd September 1955
RAF
Hunter F.1 WT689 229 OCU collided with WT655 half a mile west of Chivenor  Pilot ejected through canopy at 750 ft. Did not separate from seat.   Martin-Baker Mk.2
2nd September 1955
RAF
Hunter F.1 WT655/ES-A 229 OCU collided with WT689 half a mile west of Chivenor  Flt. Lt. Albert J. Hoogland (SAAF) ejected too late and was killed   Martin-Baker
3rd September 1955
Martin-Baker
Meteor     MARTIN-BAKER GROUND LEVEL EJECTION TEST Squadron
Leader John Fifield ejected from a Meteor at ground level at low speed using a standard Mk. 3 Martin-Baker
ejection seat.
  Martin-Baker Mk. 3
14th September 1955
Swiss AF
F-16 Prototyp       Test pilot Hans Haflinger ejected   Martin-Baker
14th September 1955
RN
Wyvern HMS Eagle   Off Scottish coast near Cape Wrath joined
circuit, wheels and flaps lowered, gentle turn at 200ft. 200kt. Unable to correct right wing down
attitude. Broke off approach
L.R. Bushe ejected at 800ft., 130kt.
2nd Ejection by Lt. Bushe who had ejected from Attacker from Eagle on 15-5-1953
  Martin-Baker
26th September 1955
RAF
Canberra B2 WK136 Bomber Command Canberra take off from Bassingbourne. Trim ran
away at 20,000ft
Navigator F/O D.E. Taylor ejected   Martin-Baker Mk.1C
Pilot /Instructor Sqn. Ldr. S.G.
Hewitt ejected
  Martin-Baker Mk.1C
Pupil Navigator F/O Leigh ejected
[didn't release from seat] - fatality
  Martin-Baker Mk.1C
Pupil Pilot F/O Bates on rumble seat bailed out - OK   non ejection
 

Canberra Escape

A TRUE story in the October issue of

** Blackwood's Magazine called "The

Rogue" gives an excellent account of a

baling-out operation fraught with more

than usual risks which was carried out

by the crew of a Canberra during a training

flight last year.

Captain of the aircraft and instructor

pilot was S/L. S. G. Hewitt, and F/L.

Taylor was instructor navigator. Pupil

pilot and navigator were respectively F/O.

Bates and F/O. Leigh. S/L. Hewitt was

flying the Canberra and F/L. Taylor and

F/O. Leigh occupied the two ejector seats

in the back. F/O. Bates, wearing a normal

seat-type parachute, sat on the rumble

seat.

During the climb after take-off from

Bassingbourn the elevator trim "ran away"

at just over 20,000ft and the aircraft went

to the top of a loop. S/L. Hewitt rolled

into a steep turn and the two navigators

ejected, one of them surviving. (The

SERVICE AVIATION . . .

seats were at that period manually

operated).

The pupil pilot on the rumble seat

then tried to get out through the entrance

door, but got stuck. While he tried to

get back on board, S/L. Hewitt was pushing

with his foot to help him out. Then

it was noticed that F/O. Bates' parachute

; harness had caught round the handle of

the emergency hydraulic hand-pump.

This was cleared and Bates successfully

baled out.

Hewitt then ejected with his knee

pressed against the control column to hold

it forward against the trim force till the

last second. He cleared the aircraft easily,

but through the stress of the preceding

efforts to clear Bates, he made the mistake

of pulling his parachute rip-cord before

releasing his seat harness. The seat

drogue-line at once became entangled in

the parachute rigging lines. Hewitt drew

his knife and cut the drogue line, but

the main canopy had been torn and he

then had to cut away a piece of parachute

which was covering his face. Finally, very

late in the descent, he was clear and falling

fast under the torn parachute. He

landed heavily in a ploughed field but

sustained no serious injury.

Meanwhile, Taylor's descent had not

been entirely trouble-free; after releasing

his seat harness, he found the seat falling

close alongside him. By kicking hard he

managed to move it away enough to allow

safe opening of his parachute.

Bates' descent was normal. Leigh failed

to release himself  from the seat and lost

his life.

S/L. Hewitt later received a Bar to his

A.F.C., the citation commending his

"leadership in this dire emergency, and his

display of coolness and exceptional

courage in the face of grave danger . . ."

FLIGHT 19th October 1956 p661 - 662

   October    

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crash / test crew photo seat
                 
19th October 1955
RCAF
Sabre 23253 OTU Flame-out Chatham Blackville, N.B. Flt. Lt. H. Murray Lepard
photo via John Paul Bradford
NAA
?? October 1955
USAF
B‑47E 40th BW   Caught fire in left wing area. Crashed near Galva, KS, USA ejected OK    
ejected OK    
ejected OK    
ejected OK    

   November   

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crashed crew photo seat
1st November 1955
RAF
Vampire T.11 XE961 8FTS,Swinderby While carrying out aerobatics
Vampire went into inverted spin.
Master Pilot F. J. Evans ejected at 15,000ft   Martin-Baker Mk.3B
Pilot. Off Robert Jago ejected at 15,000ft   Martin-Baker Mk.3B
3rd November 1955
RAF
Hunter F.4 WT709/B 54 Squadron ran out of fuel in bad
weather. Aircraft crashing at Slinford, Sussex
P/O K.R. Curtis ejected   Martin-Baker Mk.2H
3rd November 1955
RCAF
CF-100       F/O W.L. Donald ejected   Martin-Baker
10th November 1955
USAF
F-100C       Doyal Wyrick ejected   NAA

   December     

Date Air Force A'cft Unit / Serial based crashed crew photo seat
5th December 1955
RN
Wyvern       Lt. J.P. Smith ejected    
5th December 1955
RAF
Hunter F.5 WP118/S 1 Squadron structural failure of the tail in a supersonic dive
and crashed near Forest Row, Sussex
F/O A. Ginn ejected but received leg injuries from
buffetting in the slipstream
  Martin-Baker Mk.2H
8th December 1955
RAF
Gloster Javelin Mk.1 XA561 M.O.S
Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment (A & AEE), Boscombe Down
Control lost at 45,000ft. near Rowborough Corner, between
Ryde and Sandown, Isle of Wight
Pilot Sqn. Ldr. A. David Dick ejected from spinning aircraft at 8,000 ft.
FIRST USE OF [Martin-Baker Mk.3]

LINK

Martin-Baker
16th December 1955
RAF
Venom Mk.1 WR352 M.E.A.F while returning to Cyprus. Aircraft went out of control F.O. R. P. du Plessis had difficulty ejecting at
39,000ft.
  Martin-Baker Mk.2F
16th December 1955
USAF
B‑57B 53‑3872 Luke AFB, AZ Luke AFB, AZ, USA ejected safely    
ejected safely    
                 
 

Queen's Commendation

THE Queen's Commendation has been awarded posthumously to Lt. M. W. Winfield, R.N., of No. 806 Sqn., F.A.A., who lost his life at Kingston Gorse, Sussex, after his Sea Hawk suffered engine failure. Lt. Winfield, realizing that he would be unable to make an emergency landing at Ford, headed towards the coast. He remained with his aircraft until it had cleared a built-up area and people on the beach, and then ejected at 100ft. He subsequently died from his injuries.

FLIGHT 30th December 1955 p983
 

Martyn Warren WINFIELD

 

Monday, 22 August 1955

 

Centaur

 WINFIELD, Martyn W, Lieutenant, died