Straight & Level 12.2.1954

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The Britannia Mishap

While making a routine C. of A. flight on Thursday, February 4th, the second prototype Bristol Britannia developed a fire in an engine nacelle and was forced to make an emergency landing on the shore at Littleton-upon-Severn. The pilot was Mr. A. J. Pegg, and there was on board a total of fourteen crew, observers and official passengers. Only one, Mr. J. Parry, the radio officer, received slight injuries. The Britannia, G-ALRX, had been airborne for about an hour when fire in the starboard inner nacelle was detected in the cockpit and noted by one of the passengers. The fire-extinguishing equipment for the Proteus turboprop was operated but was apparently ineffective in what seems to have been an oil-fed fire in the nacelle behind the engine. The Proteus turboprops are mounted high and their jet-pipes pass over the wing. The aircraft was at the time flying at 9,000ft above cloud at an approximate position over Ledbury, near Worcester, 50 miles north of Filton.

Comet 2 Returns

The first production Comet 2, G-AMXA, returned to Hatfield on Saturday afternoon after flying from Entebbe in 10hr 55min, including a 1 1/4hr stop at Cairo. Its crew, headed by John Cunningham, were welcomed back by Sir Geoffrey and Lady de Havilland, and by two of Sir Geoffrey's directors, Mr R. E. Bishop, chief designer, and Mr. C. J. Thom, business manager. Mr. Cunningham expressed himself well satisfied with the aircraft's performance, and said that all design predictions had been confirmed. Take-off and landing tests, totalling about 8hr, were made at Khartoum and Johannesburg (full-weight take-offs being made at 32 deg C and 27 deg C respectively), and there were also demonstration visits to Durban and Langebaanweg, the military airfield near Cape Town. Over the whole 14,000-mile round trip there was no mechanical trouble.

Call Me Madam

Probably not for the first time, the use of the title "flying officer" for the W.R.A.F. flight officer who has qualified for her wings has caused a comedy of errors. Last week the Royal Air Force Club accepted a membership application from a flying officer at an R.A.F. station - only to discover, when Air Ministry Records were consulted, that the "him" was a "her". The club was probably shaken to its foundations, for, like so many of its neighbours in Piccadilly, it confines its membership strictly to the male sex.