Date & Time: Apr 7, 1922 at 1400 LT
Type of aircraft:
De Havilland DH.18
Operator:
Registration:
G-EAWO
Flight Phase:
Flight
Flight Type:
Postal (mail)
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Croydon - Paris
MSN:
DH.18/04
YOM:
1921
Country:
France
Region:
Europe
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
2
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
0
Other fatalities:
0
Total fatalities:
2
Circumstances:
Aircraft was completing a mail flight from Croydon to Paris-Le Bourget with a crew of two on board. While cruising at a height of 500 feet in foggy conditions, aircraft collided with a Farman F.60 Goliath operated by the Compagnie des Grands Express Aériens (CGEA). It appears that the DH.18 hit the upper left wing of the Farman which detached. Both aircraft crashed in an open field (a piece of wing crashed on the roof of a house) and were destroyed. While the British pilot was seriously injured, all other six occupants were killed. The only survivor died from his injuries few hours later. Collision occurred in Thieuloy-Saint-Antoine, some four km south of Grandvilliers and 27 km north of Beauvais, Oise. At the time of the accident, visibility was reduced due to fog. First collision in commercial aviation history.
Crew:
Robin E. Duke, pilot
Edward Hesterman, steward.
Probable cause:
Both crews were apparently trying to maintain visual contact with the ground while flying under a low overcast, and must have simply failed to see each other’s in time to prevent the accident. It was also reported that G-EAWO had been slightly to the left of the proper course, maybe due to the inexperience of the pilot on this line. Priority rules should be the same in aviation as on the road but in the present case, experts confirmed these rules were not the same in UK and France. So new priority rules will come into force following this tragic event.