Date: Late 1950's
Place: RAF Odiham, England.
Webmaster's note: There might be just a huge amount of Urban Myth about this one!
Javelin taxiing out for take-off.
One hunter on take-off, one
on finals, one on down-wind for finals.
Javelin engine fire (not unusual) but unseen by crew.
Air Traffic Controller (novice, in panic) calls 'you are on fire' or words to that effect.
Three Hunter pilots eject un-necessarily and Javelin crew taxi on oblivious until it becomes obvious, too late, that the panic applies to them, then luckily scrabble out unhurt, unfortunately the RAF are four aircraft down.
THIS STORY WAS FEATURED ON THE SITE FOR SOME 3 YEARS. THEN OUT OF THE BLUE, THE WEBMASTER RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING BY E MAIL:
On your site you have the story of a Javelin catching fire, followed by a loose Air Traffic call, followed by some Hunter jocks parting company with their machines which promptly reverted to kit form!
There is an entry relating to this in Colin Cumming’s book “To fly no more” – RAF accidents 1954-1958. In it he notes that, on 25th May 1957 at RAF Horsham St Faith, Javelin Mk4 XA732, when taxiing, had a fuel tank attachment fail causing the tank to drag on the ground. As the Javelin’s favourite habit was catching fire, this one also kept to the script and wrote itself off; thus the ATC call.
Two Hunter Mk4 aircraft of 74 Squadron reacted to the ATC call; both aircraft were written off but no one died. XE661 abandoned take off, overshot the runway and went through a hedge into a field. XE662 was in the circuit and the pilot tried to set it down pronto but made a mess of it (probably not helped by the undoubted Chinese Writing in his underpants!). He bounced hard, the seat fired (injuring his arm) and the Hunter (now without its driver) finished its career demolishing the wall of an airmans’ block.
Two Gnats (XR992 and XR995) were lost on 16th December 1969 due to an ATC call “your on fire”. Cumming’s book notes them to be CFS aircraft but my memory says Red Arrows; both units were at Kemble. All four crew survived.