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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20942
Last updated: 28 November 2021
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Date:01-MAY-1919
Time:05:30 LT
Type:Airco DH.9
Owner/operator:Aircraft Transport & Travel Ltd.
Registration: G-EAAA
MSN: C6054
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Portsdown Hill, N of Portsmouth, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Hendon, Middlesex
Destination airport:Bournemouth, Dorset
Narrative:
Ex-RAF C6054 (former RAF serial used on the CCA documentation in lieu of any official constructors number). First civil registered 30.4.19 to Aircraft Transport & Travel Ltd., as G-EAAA. The C of R was, of course, No.1. It was the first aircraft to make a flight for other than military or experimental purposes in the UK, and for this it was allotted, but did not carry, the first permanent British registration marking G-EAAA. (Throughout its life this DH.9 remained in military markings as C6054).

The next day, 1.5.19 - the first on which civil flying was permitted postwar - it was due to fly from Hendon to Bournemouth with a cargo of newspapers. The plan was that it would take off from Hendon on the stroke of midnight (which demonstrates that there's nothing new when it comes to 'first off the mark' stunts!). However bad weather thwarted that. But as there were, seemingly, no other civil aircraft operators elsewhere in the UK champing at the bit to be 'the first', when eventually Captain Howard J.Saint eased the stick back and lifted off the Hendon grass at 4:30 am, he made the first civil flight under the new regime.

However perhaps even that was impetuous and with more patience, maybe it would have survived to fly as G-EAAA come the following July. As it was, the D.H.9 was to survive only for another hour. Thick mist was encountered and in that thick mist, G-EAAA encountered Portsdown Hill, north of Portsmouth. How it flew into Portsdown Hill is not recorded. Perhaps it flew into the hill due to the limited visibility. Perhaps it tried to fly under the cloud and, in the darkness and with only rudimentary navigation aids, the hill loomed up before the pilot and he could not avoid it.

Registration G-EAAA formally (and belatedly) cancelled by the CAA on 1.9.19 due to "destruction or withdrawal from use of aircraft"

Sources:

1. Appleton, John; Cave, Ian G (1978). British Civil Aircraft Registers 1919-1978. Leicester, England: Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-15-6.
2. Hampshire Telegraph - Friday 02 May 1919
3. http://afleetingpeace.org/index.php/aeroplanes/15-aeroplanes/81-register-gb-g-ea
4. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_G-E.html
5. http://www.hampshireairfields.co.uk/hancrash.html
6. http://www.rcawsey.co.uk/Accb1929.htm
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Saint#Postwar_career
8. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=15367.0
9. https://www.baaa-acro.com/crash/crash-de-havilland-dh9-portsdown-hill
10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accidents_and_incidents_involving_airliners_in_the_United_Kingdom#1910%E2%80%931919


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
11-Jun-2008 13:12 JINX Added
08-Jan-2014 17:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
28-Feb-2020 21:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
28-Feb-2020 22:04 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
28-Feb-2020 22:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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