Crash of a Rockwell Grand Commander 690B in Eastbourne: 9 killed

Date & Time: Nov 13, 1984 at 1841 LT
Registration:
EI-BGL
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Dublin - Paris
MSN:
690-11507
YOM:
1977
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
8
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
9
Captain / Total flying hours:
10256
Captain / Total hours on type:
150.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2390
Circumstances:
The aircraft was flying from Dublin to Paris (Le Bourget) at a height of 25,000 feet. In the area of Petersfield, Hampshire, the aircraft began a gentle turn to the left from a south easterly heading. After the radar controller queried the departure from the expected heading the commander reported that the autopilot had 'dropped out', and the south easterly heading was resumed. Approximately 7 minutes later, the radar recording shows that the aircraft again began to turn left and started to lose height. After the aircraft had reached a northerly heading it began to lose height rapidly following which secondary radar returns were lost and the primary returns became fragmented before they also disappeared. The aircraft suffered an in-flight disintegration at approximately 19,000 feet and all 9 occupants were killed. A positive cause of the accident was not determined but there was evidence that a part of the aircraft's electrical supply had been lost. This would have caused the autopilot to disengage and also have resulted in the failure of the commander's flight director indicator. It was concluded that, following the disengagement of the autopilot, the aircraft probably entered a steep spiral dive and that the disintegration of the aircraft occurred as recovery was attempted.
Probable cause:
The in-flight disintegration of the aircraft was probably caused by over-stressing during an attempted recovery from an extreme attitude in a spiral dive. A probable contributory factor was the commander's lack of awareness of the loss of the 26 volt AC supply to the autopilot and flight director system.
Final Report:

Crash of a Short S.25 Sunderland MR.5 off Eastbourne: 4 killed

Date & Time: Jun 4, 1955 at 0930 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
RN288
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Pembroke Dock - Calshot
Region:
Crew on board:
14
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
4
Circumstances:
The crew left Pembroke Dock for RAF Calshot and was detached to take part to a presentation to the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) celebrations at Eastbourne, and was supposed to be displayed to welcome the Duke of Edinburgh. While landing on rough sea, the airplane hit waves, nosed down and plunged into the water before coming to rest few dozen yards off shore. Four crew members were killed, two other were injured and eight were unhurt. The aircraft was destroyed.

Crash of a Consolidated B-24D Liberator in Eastbourne: 10 killed

Date & Time: Feb 2, 1944
Operator:
Registration:
41-24282
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
MSN:
1077
YOM:
1943
Region:
Crew on board:
10
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
10
Circumstances:
En route, while cruising at low altitude, the four engine aircraft christened 'Ruth Less' hit a hill and crashed near Eastbourne, East Sussex. All ten crew members were killed.

Crash of a Vickers 416 Wellington IC in Lullington Court: 6 killed

Date & Time: Dec 22, 1940
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
L7799
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Honington - Honington
Region:
Crew on board:
6
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Circumstances:
The aircraft left RAF Honington at 2015LT on December 21 to bomb an industrial area located in Porto Marghera, near Venice, Italy. While on the return leg the following night, the aircraft crashed in unknown circumstances in a field located in Lullington Court, some 12 km northwest of Eastbourne. All six crew members were killed.
Crew (9th Squadron):
Sgt Robert Norman Harrison, pilot,
Sgt James Frederick Gapp, pilot,
Sgt Leslie William Nichols, navigator and observer,
Sgt Maurice Holker, wireless operator and air gunner,
Sgt William Riley, wireless operator and air gunner,
Sgt John Docker, air gunner.
Probable cause:
The causes and circumstances of the accident were undetermined. Maybe the aircraft ran out of fuel or was attacked by enemy fire.

Crash of a De Havilland DH.16 off Beachy Head

Date & Time: Mar 18, 1920
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
G-EACT
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Paris - Hounslow Heath
MSN:
DH.16/1
YOM:
1919
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
Pilot was performing a mail flight from Paris-Le Bourget to Hounslow Heath. While overflying the Channel, he encountered low visibility due to fog and the compass failed. He sighted a boat and circled around it to attract attention. Eventually, he ditched the aircraft off the Beachy Head coast, near Eastbourne. He was quickly rescued by the crew of the boat but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
Probable cause:
Compass failure in poor weather conditions over the sea.