ASN Aircraft accident Bristol 170 Freighter 21E G-AICS Winter Hill
ASN logo

Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Thursday 27 February 1958
Type:Silhouette image of generic B170 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bristol 170 Freighter 21E
Operator:Manx Airlines
Registration: G-AICS
MSN: 12762
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 39
Total:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 42
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Winter Hill (   United Kingdom)
Crash site elevation: 445 m (1460 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Isle of Man-Ronaldsway Airport (IOM/EGNS), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Manchester International Airport (MAN/EGCC), United Kingdom
The Bristol 170 aircraft was being operated by Manx Airlines on a flight from the Isle of Man to Manchester, United Kingdom. Prior to takeoff, in order to avoid delay, a clearance to fly at 1500 ft was offered and accepted. In the light of past experience the captain anticipated that he would be cleared to a higher altitude on crossing the English coast. Between Ronaldsway and the reporting point at Squire's Gate the flight was made below cloud practically all the way. Visibility was reasonably good. The captain went below to talk to the passengers for approximately a five minute period. During his absence the first officer set the radio compass on what he thought was Wigan Beacon, but, was in fact Oldham Beacon. The Oldham Beacon is a more powerful NDB with a morse recognition signal 'MYL'. Wigan NDB has a recognition signal 'MYK'. On his return to the cockpit the captain took over the piloting of the aircraft. He assumed that the radio compass was tuned in to Wigan.
Just prior to 09:38 hours the aircraft reported to Preston Control "abeam Blackpool at this time estimating Wigan at 43". At 09:39 the Preston controller radioed: "You are cleared to Wigan 1500 feet remaining contact. Call Manchester Zone for onward clearance."
At 09:44, one minute after it would have been over the Wigan NDB, the flight was in cloud and out of contact with the ground. Manchester Control the radioed, "Charlie Sierra will you make a right turn immediately on to a heading of two five zero. I have a faint paint on radar which indicates you're going over towards the hills." Shortly thereafter in the course of making the right turn as ordered, the aircraft crashed on the northeast slope of Winter Hill, at a height of approximately 1460 ft.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The error of the first officer in tuning the radio compass on Oldham Beacon instead of on Wigan Beacon. A contributory cause was the failure of the captain to check that the radio compass was tuned on the correct beacon."

Navigational error
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» ICAO Accident Digest, Circular 59-AN/54 (83-92)


photo of Bristol-170-Freighter-21E-G-AICS

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Isle of Man-Ronaldsway Airport to Manchester International Airport as the crow flies is 173 km (108 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
languages: languages


Bristol 170

  • 214 built
  • 42nd loss
  • 27th fatal accident
  • 4th worst accident
» safety profile

 United Kingdom
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 13th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2023 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314