Incident North American AT-16 Harvard T Mk 2B FS725,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 311827
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Date:Friday 9 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:2 FTS RAF
Registration: FS725
MSN: 14A-865
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:RAF Church Lawford, 3 miles SW of Rugby, Warwickshire, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:RAF Church Lawford, Warwickshire
Destination airport:RAF Church Lawford, Warwickshire
Ex-USAAF 43-12566 (MSN 14A-865) Delivered to RAF as Harvard IIb FS725. To 20 Flying Training School, Church Lawford, Warwickshire 3 April 1945. To 2 Flying Training School 23 July 1947.

Written off (damaged beyond repair) when crash landed at Church Lawford, Warwickshire 9 January 1948; on final approach, the pilot forgot to lower the undercarriage, and failed to carry out the pre-landing checks to confirm that the undercarriage was "down and locked". The air traffic controller also failed to notice that the Harvard was attempting to land with the undercarriage retracted until the aircraft was almost at the point of touchdown.

This also meant that the ATC Controller did not have enough time to go outside the ATC control hut and fire a red VEREY flare to warn the pilot. However, he did flash a red ALDIS lamp as a warning signal, but the pilot must not have seen this, as he did not react to the warning. The Harvard then belly landed at RAF Church Lawford, slid along the runway, severely damaging the underside. As far as is known, the pilot was uninjured.

20 FTS was formed on 10 July 1940 at Cranborne in Southern Rhodesia as No. 20 Service FTS and disbanded there during April 1945. The unit was reformed at Church Lawford, England as 20 FTS on 3 April 1945, but on 23 July 1947, No. 20 FTS at RAF Church Lawford was re-designated No. 2 FTS and on 6 April 1948 it moved to RAF South Cerney in Gloucestershire. It was equipped with de Havilland Tiger Moths and Harvards but in June 1949 the Tiger Moths were replaced by Percival Prentices.

RAF Church Lawford is a former Royal Air Force station located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of Church Lawford, Warwickshire, England, 3 miles (4.8 km) south-west of Rugby, Warwickshire. The airfield opened in April 1941 and was used by the RAF for pilot training until it closed in 1955.


1. Broken Wings Post-War Royal Air Force Accidents. James J. Halley. Published by Air-Britain, 1999
2. Final Landings: A Summary of RAF Aircraft and Combat Losses 1946-1949 by Colin Cummings (p 360-361)
3. The Harvard File (John F Hamblin, Air Britain, 1988) p 90
4. 2 FTS RAF ORB for the period 1-9-1945 to 31-12-1950: National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR29/1811:

Revision history:

03-May-2023 21:02 Nepa Updated

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