Air crash investigation BOAC Flight 781 DeHavilland Comet seconds from disaster mid air explosion


This video is Air crash investigation BOAC Flight 781 DeHavilland Comet seconds from disaster mid air explosion
On Sunday 10 January 1954, British Overseas Airways Corporation Flight 781, a de Havilland DH.106 Comet 1, registered G-ALYP,took off from Ciampino Airport in Rome, Italy, en route to Heathrow Airport in London, England, on the final leg of its flight from Singapore. At about 10:51 GMT, the aircraft suffered an explosive decompression at altitude and crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, killing everyone on board. The accident aircraft was the third Comet built
Crew and passengers onboard
The flight was captained by Alan Gibson (31), one of BOAC’s youngest pilots. He had flown in the Royal Air Force and had been with BOAC since 1946. He had considerable flying experience, having logged more than 6,500 flight hours. He had been involved in a prior accident in 1951 which involved the forced landing of a Hermes aircraft. He had later been praised for his flying conduct on the 1951 accident flight.

The first officer on Flight 781 was William John Bury (33). He had flown a total of approximately 4,900 hours. The engineer officer was Francis Charles Macdonald (27) and the radio officer was Luke Patrick McMahon (32). They had 720 flying hours and close to 3,600 flying hours, respectively.

Of the 29 passengers, 10 were children. Among the casualties were Chester Wilmot, a prominent Australian journalist and military historian working for the BBC, and Dorothy Beecher Baker, a Hand of the Cause of God for the Baha’i Faith.
Flight and disaster
Gerry Bull, a former BOAC engineer, said that when he inspected the aircraft in Rome he looked for “incidental damage”. He did not find any, so he believed Flight 781 was fit for flight. Bull and the same team of engineers later examined South African Airways Flight 201 before its final flight.

On 10 January 1954, the flight took off at 09:34 GMT for the final-stage flight to London. At about 09:50 GMT BOAC Argonaut, G-ALHJ piloted by Captain Johnson, which was flying the same route at a lower altitude was in contact with Captain Gibson. During a radio communication about weather conditions, the conversation was abruptly cut off. The last words heard from Captain Gibson were “George How Jig, did you get my -“. Soon afterwards fishermen saw wreckage falling into the sea.

Heathrow Airport initially listed Flight 781 as being delayed; around 1:30 PM the airport took the flight off the arrivals board
Initial Original Investigation
Initial examination and reconstruction of the wreckage of G-ALYP revealed several signs of inflight break-up:

Shreds of cabin carpet were found trapped in the remains of the Comet’s tail section
The imprint of a coin was found on a fuselage panel from the rear of the aircraft
Smears and scoring on the rear fuselage were tested and found to be consistent to the paint applied to the passenger seats of the Comet
With most of the wreckage recovered, investigators found that fractures started in the roof of the cabin, a window then smashed into the elevators, the rear fuselage then tore away, the outer wing structure fell, then the outer wing tips and finally the cockpit broke away and fuel from the wings set the debris on fire.

Official findings concerning BOAC Flight 781 and South African Airways Flight 201 were released jointly on 1 February 1955, in Civil Aircraft Accident Report of the Court of Inquiry into the Accidents to Comet G-ALYP on 10 January 1954 and Comet G-ALYY on 8 April 1954. After the equivalent of 3,000 flights simulated with G-ALYU, investigators at the RAE were able to conclude that the crash of G-ALYP had been due to failure of the pressure cabin at the forward ADF window in the roof. This window was one of two apertures for the aerials of an electronic navigation system in which opaque fibreglass panels took the place of the window glass. The failure was a result of metal fatigue caused by the repeated pressurisation and de-pressurisation of the aircraft cabin. Another fact was that the supports around the windows were riveted, not glued, as the original specifications for the aircraft had called for. The problem was exacerbated by the punch rivet construction technique employed. Unlike drill riveting, the imperfect nature of the hole created by punch riveting caused manufacturing defect cracks, which may have caused fatigue cracks to start around the rivet. The investigators examined the final piece of wreckage with a microscope.
Here is the wikipedia link also
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