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Stockport air disaster

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Title: Stockport air disaster  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of accidents and incidents involving airliners in the United Kingdom, British Overseas Airways Corporation, History of Stockport Borough, Stockport, British Midland International
Collection: 1967 Disasters in the United Kingdom, 1967 in England, 20Th Century in Cheshire, Accidents and Incidents Involving the Canadair North Star, Airliner Accidents and Incidents Caused by Design or Manufacturing Errors, Airliner Accidents and Incidents Caused by Fuel Exhaustion, Aviation Accidents and Incidents in 1967, Aviation Accidents and Incidents in England, British Midland International, Disasters in Cheshire, Disasters in Greater Manchester, History of Greater Manchester, History of Stockport Borough, Manchester Airport, Stockport
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Stockport air disaster

Stockport Air Disaster
Accident summary
Date 4 June 1967
Summary Fuel starvation due to a leaky valve caused by design error
Site Stockport, England
Passengers 79
Crew 5
Injuries (non-fatal) 13
Fatalities 72
Survivors 12
Aircraft type Canadair C-4 Argonaut
Operator British Midland Airways
Registration G-ALHG
Flight origin Palma Airport
Destination Ringway Airport

The Stockport air disaster was the crash of a Canadair C-4 Argonaut aircraft owned by British Midland Airways, registration G-ALHG,[1] in a small open area at Hopes Carr near the centre of Stockport, Greater Manchester, England on Sunday 4 June 1967. 72 of the 84 aboard were killed in the accident. Of the 12 survivors, all were seriously injured. It currently stands as the fourth worst disaster in British aviation history.[2]


  • Accident 1
  • Investigation 2
  • Legacy of the accident 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


Canadair C-4 Argonaut G-ALHG at Manchester Airport on 29 August 1965

The aircraft, which had been chartered by Arrowsmith Holidays Ltd, left

  • "Special Report". Stockport Express. 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2009.  - 40th anniversary articles about the accident
  • "Stockport Air Disaster". BBC Inside Out. BBC. 28 October 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2008. A new generation are learning how these long-forgotten heroes played a courageous role in  
  • Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  • Names of passengers and crew. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  • Newsreel footage of crash site (1967) courtesy of British Pathe (Record No:44382) at YouTube
  • Newsreel footage of wrecked aircraft reconstruction during investigation (1967) courtesy of British Pathe (Record No:45016) at YouTube

External links

  • Air Disaster, Vol. 4: The Propeller Era, by Macarthur Job, Aerospace Publications Pty. Ltd. (Australia), 2001 ISBN 1-875671-48-X, pp. 154–169.
  • The Day the Sky Fell Down: The Story of the Stockport Air Disaster, by Stephen R. Morrin, 1998, ISBN 0-9534503-0-9.

Further reading

  • "Stockport Accident Inquiry" Flight International 7 December 1967
  • "Accident Repercussions" Flight International, 15 June 1967
  1. ^ "GINFO Database". Civil Aviation Authority. 
  2. ^ Lashley, Brian (1 June 2007). "40 years after the Stockport air disaster". Manchester Evening News (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 8 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "Stockport air crash". BBC. 28 October 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  4. ^ Maher, Paul (6 June 2007). "The blackest day in town's recent history". Stockport Express (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 8 October 2009. 
  5. ^ Flight p936
  6. ^ Flight p935
  7. ^ "Town to honour air disaster hero". Manchester Evening News (M.E.N. Media). 31 May 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  8. ^ "PM backs air disaster campaign". Stockport Express (M.E.N. Media). 3 April 2002. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  9. ^ "Why we fought for memorials ... and why the PM backed us". Stockport Express (M.E.N. Media). 6 June 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  10. ^ Maher, Paul (10 May 2006). "Fury at council plans for crash site". Stockport Express (M.E.N. Media). Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  11. ^ "What does future hold for crash site?". Stockport Express (M.E.N. Media). 6 June 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 


See also

In 2002 a campaign was launched to create a further memorial at the site, commemorating rescuers who risked their lives to pull survivors from the burning aeroplane; the campaign was supported by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.[8] The second memorial, dedicated to the rescuers, was unveiled in October 2002.[9] Both memorials will be moved a short distance under current plans to redevelop the site.[10] The regeneration project will include 375 apartments, workshops, retail and office space and a new public square. The memorials, currently on the corner of Hopes Carr and Waterloo Road, would be moved to a site overlooking Hempshaw Valley.[11]

4th JUNE 1967

In 1998 a memorial plaque was unveiled (by two survivors) at the scene of the accident. It bears the legend:

Legacy of the accident

News reports stated that the pilot chose to crash in an open area, but the AIB found no evidence to support this belief. The aircraft happened to be over an open area at the time the starboard engines cut out, and AIB investigators believed that the aircraft was completely uncontrollable after the loss of power. The captain, who survived, did not remember the accident sequence, and the first officer died. A number of witnesses to the final seconds aloft of the aircraft claim to have seen the aircraft make a very pronounced turn to port and was quickly levelled out before descending into the Hopes Carr crash site. This strongly suggests that although struggling to control the aircraft at critically slow speed Captain Harry Marlow did exert a degree of control and probably put the aircraft down into open space, albeit an extremely small one. The AIB inquiry cleared Captain Marlow of all blame.[7]

The AIB also examined passenger and crew survivability during the accident. Autopsies on the passengers showed that those in the very front of the fuselage had been killed by rapid deceleration injuries, but those further aft had suffered massive crushing injuries to their lower legs that stopped them from escaping the burning wreckage. Investigators found that the bracing bars meant to keep the rows of seats separate were too weak to stop the rows from collapsing together like a concertina, and determined that had the bars been adequately strong, most of the passengers would have been able to escape the aircraft.

A fuel problem had been noted on the aircraft five days earlier, this only came to light 4 months after the crash. A third contributory factor was tiredness: the Captain had been on duty for nearly 13 hours. This was within legal and operational limits but the inquiry noted that he had made several errors in repeating ATC messages.[6]

Investigators with the Accidents Investigation Branch (AIB) determined that the aircraft had run out of fuel because of a previously unrecognised flaw in the model's fuel system. The Argonaut has eight fuel tanks connected in pairs by selector valves. Each pair of tanks feeds one engine, but there is also a cross-feed system whereby fuel from any pair of tanks can be routed through the system if necessary. It was found that if the selector valves in the cross-feed system were a few degrees off the normal "off" setting, fuel could inadvertently bleed through the valves. This could make one pair of tanks empty completely in flight, and the engine fed by the empty tanks would stop. The selectors were designed to "click" when they were set correctly, but the click could not be heard unless the pilot leaned forward in his seat, an impossibility, as Argonaut pilots had to wear snug shoulder harnesses during flight. This tendency had been noticed by pilots of other Argonauts before, but neither British Midland nor the other airlines using the Argonaut (Trans-Canada Airlines and Canadian Pacific Airlines) had reported it to the manufacturer or to British Midland. Without this information, the AIB believed that it would have been extremely difficult for the pilots of G-ALHG to determine the exact nature of the emergency.

Stockport air disaster is located in Greater Manchester
Hopes Carr
British Midland G-ALHG crash site, situated amongst urban areas of Greater Manchester



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