Fuel exhaustion Accident North American AT-16 Harvard T Mk 2B FX320,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 311622
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Date:Friday 16 January 1948
Type:Silhouette image of generic T6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
North American AT-16 Harvard T Mk 2B
Owner/operator:3 FTS RAF
Registration: FX320
MSN: 14A-1623
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:North Sea, off Cromer, Norfolk, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Feltwell, Thetford, Norfolk
Destination airport:
Ex-USAAF 43-34737 (MSN 14A-1623). Delivered to RAF as Harvard IIb FX320. No 2 Flying Instructor School, Montrose, Scotland October 1944. To 9 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit, Errol, Perthshire, Scotland October 1944. To 5 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit, Ternhill, Shropshire June 1945. To 3 Service Flying Training School, South Cerney, Gloucestershire December 1945. To 3 Flying Training School, Feltwell, Norfolk April 1947.

Written off (destroyed) when crashed off Norfolk coast 16 January 1948: The Harvard was engaged in a night cross country navigation training exercise when the pilot became lost. Despite searching for a recognisable landmark, he could not re-establish his position, and therefore abandoned the aircraft over the sea off the coast of Norfolk when the engine failed due to fuel exhaustion.

Despite an extensive SAR air and sea search, no trace of the pilot was ever found, and the pilot was posted as "missing, presumed killed":

Crew of Harvard FX320:
Cadet Pilot Richard Frank Kahan, RAF (pilot, aged 20) - missing, presumed killed 16-1-48

The wreckage of Harvard FX320 was recovered in shallow waters off the coast of Norfolk. The subsequent Board of Inquiry concluded that the pilot had reduced engine power to the point that the aircraft's batteries could not be recharged. This left insufficient power for the radio to operate, leaving the pilot unable to call local ATC (Air Traffic Control) to request confirmation of his position, and receive a heading back to base.


1. Halley, James (1999) Broken Wings – Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents Tunbridge Wells: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. p.111 ISBN 0-85130-290-4.
2. Last Take-off: A Record of RAF Aircraft Losses 1950 to 1953 Colin Cummings p.363
3. The Harvard File (John F Hamlin, Air Britain, 1988 p 108)
4. https://www.myheritage.com/names/richard_kahan
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromer

Revision history:

01-May-2023 19:35 Dr. John Smith Added
01-May-2023 19:37 Dr. John Smith Updated

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