Accident Supermarine S.5 racing seaplane N221,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 74547
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Date:Monday 12 March 1928
Type:Supermarine S.5 racing seaplane
Owner/operator:High Speed Flt RAF
Registration: N221
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:The Solent Estuary, off Calshot Lightship -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Solent Estuary, Calshot, Hampshire
Destination airport:Solent Estuary, Calshot, Hampshire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Destroyed in an accident on 12 March 1928, in a full speed run over the Solent off Calshot, Hampshire, in poor visibility, the S.5 struck the glassy surface of the sea and crashed. Flt Lt Samuel Marcus Kinkead RAF, a pilot with a very distinguished record, was killed in the accident.

The circumstances of his death have never been satisfactorily explained although a verdict of death by misadventure was passed at the inquest. The witnesses to the crash thought Kinkead was flying very low and very fast when his S.5 dived into moderately deep water near the Calshot Lightship. Although the RAF Duty Motorboat quickly buoyed the wreck site it took two days for the salvage vessel to find and retrieve the wreckage that had split into two parts. The remains were taken to Calshot and the controls were laid out on the slipway to check for any technical fault but the inspector could find nothing technically wrong with the machine. It was at first thought that Kinkead had been thrown clear of the machine during the crash but his body was found, minus half of his head, compressed into the tail. The tail had to be cut open in order to retrieve the body. It was quite obvious that Sam Kinkead had died instantly.

Although neither the RAF inquiry nor the Coroner's Inquest were able to give a definitive cause for the accident, D'Arcy Grieg (the pilot who took over from Kinkead) had his own theory as to what had happened. He ruled out mechanical failure of the aircraft because they were too well maintained but said Kinkead was killed by a combination of factors including recovering from a bout of Malaria that would have him feeling, ' a bit below par.' It was March and late in the afternoon. The sea was glass calm and therefor impossible to judge height accurately and there was a mist so he had no horizon when coming in. Grieg also thought the fumes from the engine and the heat from the oil coolers would have turned the cockpit into an extremely hot Turkish Bath. The autopsy, however, had found no evidence for carbon monoxide poisoning. Flying at over 300 MPH and at no higher than 150 feet Kinkead was never more than half a heart beat from disaster.

Kinkead was buried at All Saints' Church, Fawley – the headstone on his grave reads:

"In memory of Flight Lieutenant Samuel Marcus Kinkead DSO DSC DFC who, on 12 March 1928 while flying at Calshot, gave his life in an attempt to break the world's speed record."


1. Andrews, C.F. and E.B. Morgan. Supermarine Aircraft since 1914, 2nd edition. London: Putnam, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-800-3.


Samuel Kinkead Gravestone Front Cover of Memorial Service for Samual Kinkead

Revision history:

28-May-2010 16:47 angels one five Added
28-Dec-2011 01:57 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
12-Jan-2013 06:39 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative]
29-May-2013 07:30 angels one five Updated [Operator, Location, Narrative]
13-Dec-2013 01:25 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
17-Jun-2018 21:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
17-Jun-2018 21:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time]
25-Nov-2018 16:39 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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