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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 109036
Last updated: 29 November 2021
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Time:12:01 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic f80 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed YP-80A Shooting Star
Owner/operator:BAD1 /8th USAAF
Registration: 44-83026
MSN: 080-1005
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bold, near Widnes, Cheshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:RAF Burtonwood, Warrington, Cheshire
Destination airport:
Lockheed YP-80A Shooting Star 44-83026 was built by Lockheed at its Burbank factory in California and was accepted/
delivered to the UAAAF on the 4th December 1944. It was disassembled, boxed and shipped as deck cargo to Burtonwood with its sister aircraft 44-83027 on 15th December 1944, arriving on the 30th December 1944. Following the aircraft's arrival at Burtonwood, YP-80s number 004 and 005 took one month to be reassembled, due no doubt to the extremely cold weather. The pilots, Major Frederic Austin Borsodi and Colonel Marcus Cooper arrived in January 1945 and on the 27th, Colonel Cooper took 44-83026 for its first test flight.

On the 28th January 1945 at 11:40 hours 28 year old, Major Frederic Austin Borsodi (0-420960) of the Air Technical Service Command HQ, based at Wright Field, USA, took off from Burtonwood using runway 27 on a routine test flight in Lockheed YP-80A Shooting Star 44-83026 (c/n 1005). This was the aircraft's second test flight and the take off was fast, with the aircraft leaving the traffic pattern in a gradual climb. Major Borsodi then flew in a left hand circuit just beyond the outer boundary of the local control zone at an altitude of between 8,000 to 10,000 feet, while making four or five rolls and the aircraft appeared to function correctly.

After being airborne for approximately 20 minutes at an altitude of about 4,000 to 5,000 feet and about three miles west of the airfield, black smoke and fire was observed being expelled from the aft section of the aircraft. Immediately thereafter, the rear empennage disintegrated and the aircraft went out of control, crashing right side up, on farmland at Bold, near Widnes, at 12:01 hours. The aircraft was then partially consumed by fire, with the crash causing slight damage to the surrounding fences. A P-47 on a routine test flight passed overhead and circled the crash site, to guide the crash crews to its location. Major Borsodi had made no apparent attempt to leave the aircraft and it was assumed that he was unconscious or had already been killed before the aircraft had hit the ground. It was also noted that within an hour of the accident German radio announced the type of aircraft that had crashed and personal information on the pilot!

The incident was seen by a large number of witnesses in the surrounding area, who saw the aircraft conducting various manoeuvres in the vicinity of Burtonwood. Many heard an explosion and saw the tail section on fire, with pieces falling away from the aircraft as far away as Rainhill. The aircraft was observed "falling like a leaf" and to spin and glide until it crashed. A number of the local residents, some living only 200 yards away, immediately ran to the scene and they were soon joined by the local police.

Following the investigation of the Aircraft Accident Committee, the cause of the accident was found to be that the tail pipe flange failed in tension. This allowed enough exhaust leakage to be released into the aft section of the fuselage to melt of the tail pipe lagging, the tail surface roots, and part of the fuselage aft section skin, causing rear empennage disintegration. It took a further two weeks to determine the exact cause of the in-flight fire. The distribution of all the debris was plotted, which were spread over half a mile in a relatively straight line. The first piece along the flight path was the tail pipe, which displayed evidence of forced separation of its attachment to the engine tail cone. Next in line was the vertical fin and rudder with part of the aft fuselage, this part showed excessive heat and smoke damage. The investigation also revealed "thrown turbine buckets" and it was noted that when these break away, they damage everything in their path, cables, hydraulics' etc, i.e. the engine literally blew up, taking off the rear empennage.



Revision history:

09-Mar-2011 19:30 angels one five Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Narrative]
04-Sep-2011 07:26 Uli Elch Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source]
12-Oct-2011 13:44 angels one five Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
23-Jan-2012 05:15 Nepa Updated [Operator, Source]
17-Sep-2013 01:09 angels one five Updated [Location, Departure airport, Narrative]
16-Nov-2014 02:24 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Apr-2020 08:42 Reno Raines Updated [Operator, Operator]

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