Accident Maurice Farman M.F.7 Longhorn 451,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 218267
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Date:Thursday 19 March 1914
Time:10:20 LT
Type:Maurice Farman M.F.7 Longhorn
Owner/operator:CFS RFC
Registration: 451
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Upavon, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RFC Upavon, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire
Destination airport:RFC Upavon, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
19.3.1914: Maurice Farman Longhorn 451, Central Flying School, Royal Flying Corps, Upavon, Wiltshire. Written off (destroyed) when stalled and dived into trees, Upavon, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. Pilot - and sole occupant - Lt. Hugh Frederic Treeby, 1st Battalion, West Riding Regiment (aged 25) was killed. According to a contemporary report in Flight magazine (May 29, 1914 page 571 - see link #2)


Brief Description of the Accident.—
Lieut. Hugh Frederic Treeby was flying a Maurice Farman Biplane fitted with a 70 h.p. Renault engine, at the Central Flying School, Upavon, on Thursday, March 19th, 1914, at about 10.20 a.m. He had been flying about twenty minutes and was approaching the alighting-ground at a height of about 350 ft. A left-hand turn had been completed in a normal manner, apparently with the idea of landing into the wind. The engine was throttled down and the aircraft in a position for a straight glide to the ground. Suddenly, the aircraft no6e-dived, fell into some trees, and was completely wrecked. The pilot, who was found underneath the engine, was killed.

Lieut. Hugh Frederic Treeby was granted his Aviator's Certificate, No. 687, on November 16th, 1913, by the Royal Aero Club.
The Committee sat on Monday, March 30th, 1914, and received the report of the Club's representative, who visited the scene of the accident within a short time of its occurrence, together with the evidence of eye-witnesses. From the consideration of the evidence, the Committee regards the following facts as clearly established:—

1. The aircraft was built by Messrs. Farman in Paris, and was delivered new to the Central Flying School in July, 1913.
2. The wind at the time of the accident was 10 to 15 m.p.h., and somewhat gusty.
3. The pilot had previous experience on other types of aircraft and had flown the Maurice Farman Biplane several times, including one flight the same morning.
4. This particular aircraft had been flown previously the same morning by another officer and had been found to be in perfect order.
5. The aircraft was fitted with an engine revolution indicator and air speed indicator.
6. The controls were found to be in working order after the accident.

The Committee is of opinion that the accident was due to the aircraft having lost flying speed owing to an error on the part of the pilot."

According to the following transcript from the Coroners Inquest into the death of Hugh Treeby:

"Treeby, Hugh
March 27th 1914

Lieutenant Treeby’s Death
Officer’s Praise of Their Machines

A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned at the inquest on Friday by Mr G E Vicary, Deputy Coroner for Mid Wiltshire, on the body of Lieutenant Hugh Frederick Treeby, 1st Batt, the West Riding Regiment, who was killed on Thursday while flying at the Central Flying School, Upavon.

Captain Godfrey Paine, commandant of the school, said he regarded Lieutenant Treeby as a very careful flyer, but he would not describe him as proficient, as he was still a learner. At the school he first flew an Avro type of machine, which was more difficult than a Maurice Farman, and he was reported as a good Avro pilot. Then he was shifted to a Maurice Farman machine. There were at the school 35 machines, and they were all quite up to date.

The Coroner: Reports are about – I do not say there is any truth in them – that the machines are ramshackle.

Captain Paine: There is no truth in it whatever. There is no truth in any statement that machines at the flying school are anything but efficient. We are better off for machines now then ever we have been. The witness went on to say that the machine Lieutenant Treeby was flying when the accident occurred was delivered new to the school on July 16th last and had always proved itself an excellent machine in every way. Every machine was inspected before and after every ascent by the officer in charge of the flight, though he did not mean by that that every time they went over the whole of the machine. Each flight had its own mechanics, who had varying periods of experience. Some of them had had the best training of any engine-room mechanics in England. Most of the mechanics came from the Army and Navy. The authorities did not get them from aircraft factories, except for the special purpose of explaining new types of machines. All the mechanics had experience of the Maurice Farman type. There were 12 of that type at the school, six in one flight alone.

Lieutenant Phillip Shepherd, RN, instructor, said Lieutenant Treeby had been instructed since April 19 last, but had only come into the witness’s flight on March 6. On Thursday morning the witness made flight with him, and Lieutenant Treeby was then physically fit. When he went up again it was alone, and witness only saw him start. The machine he used was the best in witness’s flight, and that was saying a great deal, for he had a first-class lot of machines. He had never had occasion to find fault with it, and he never had to complain of not having good machines. He examined the machine and it was perfectly fit to go up. He had seen its wreck, and the control wires were intact, showing that the accident was not due to a breakage. From what he was told of the accident, he thought it was due to the “straightening-out” of the machine and a consequent loss of flying speed.

Lieutenant Habington, RN, who watched the flight, was asked by the Coroner if trees were considered to be dangerous to flying, and replied not necessarily. There was sometimes a little disturbance but nothing to worry about.

Major E Gerrard, said the machine was badly wrecked, but the tail elevator and wires were still intact. The witness could see nothing in the wreckage to account for the accident. The witness flew over the same spot in the same way as Lieutenant Treeby did, and at the same height half an hour later, to see if there was any particular air current to account for the accident. The witness found a distinct downward air current, but nothing to cause any serious inconvenience if the machine was properly in hand and flying at proper speed. In his opinion the accident was due to loss of flying speed. This machine had a particularly good gliding angle, and would glide very slowly if the engine was stopped. Probably what the machine could do in that way was over-estimated.

Captain Paine, recalled, said that if Lieutenant Treeby had been a thousand feet up instead of a hundred and fifty he would probably have saved himself.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”


2. Flight magazine (May 29 1914 page 571):

Revision history:

21-Nov-2018 21:52 Dr.John Smith Added
21-Nov-2018 21:54 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
21-Nov-2018 21:55 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
23-Jan-2019 09:06 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
11-Jun-2023 21:03 Nepa Updated [[Operator]]

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