Accident de Havilland SE.1 Unregistered,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 29844
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Date:Friday 18 August 1911
Type:de Havilland SE.1
Owner/operator:de Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd
Registration: Unregistered
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Farnborough Airfield, Farnborough, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Farnborough Airfield, Farnborough, Hampshire
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
On 18 August 1911 the aircraft was flown by someone other than Geoffrey DeHavilland for the first time; the rather inexperienced pilot Lieutenant Theodore J. Ridge, Assistant Superintendent at the factory (who had only been awarded his Pilot's certificate the day before, and was described as "an absolutely indifferent flyer"). The combination of the inexperienced pilot and the marginally controllable aircraft proved fatal - the S.E.1 stalled in a turn and spun in, killing Ridge. According to a contemporary report in Flight International (August 26, 1911):

"The Fatal Accident at Aldershot.

THE sympathies of all interested in British aviation will be with the little band of experimenters at the Army Balloon Factory at Farnborough in the loss sustained by the fatal accident on the 18th inst. to Lieut. Theodore Ridge. His experience in the air had mostly been with dirigibles constructed at the factory of which he was the assistant superintendent, but a short time ago he qualified for his brevet on a biplane.

The evidence given at the inquest on Monday last, when a verdict of " Death by misadventure" was returned, rather showed that the accident was another case of the danger of the over-confidence of inexperience. After seeing several flights successfully made by a mechanic, he decided to try the machine himself, although he was warned by the designer, as well as the engineer at the factory, not to do so.

He however insisted on going, as he felt confident he could manage it. He went for a short flight, and on returning stopped the engine to come down, and then started to make a sharp turn, which he had been especially warned not to do. The machine by this manoeuvre lost its balance and fell to the ground, the pilot being pinned under the debris, and so severely injured that he died the same night in the Connaught Hospital."

No attempt to rebuild the S.E.1 was made, and the design was apparently abandoned, with no attempt to develop it


1. Jackson, A.J. (1978). de Havilland Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam Publishing. ISBN 0-370-30022-X.
2. Jarrett, Philip (1991). "Farnborough's First: The story of de Havilland's S.E.1". Air Enthusiast (Forty-two): pp. 1–10. ISSN 0143-5450.


Aviation in Britain Before the First World War RAE-O173

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
06-Jul-2010 23:43 Anon. Updated
02-May-2013 13:21 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
06-Feb-2017 16:37 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
06-Feb-2017 16:37 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
19-Nov-2018 20:45 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Source]
18-Jul-2020 22:40 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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