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Author Topic: GAL 56 (TS507) crash, near Alton, February 1948  (Read 1801 times)
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John
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« on: December 28, 2015, 15:24:45 PM »

Lincolnshire Echo - Thursday 12 February 1948

PILOT DIES IN FLYING WING GLIDER CRASH. OBSERVER BAILS OUT.
When an experimental flying wing glider crashed in a field of cattle near Alton, Hants., to-day the pilot was killed outright and the observer escaped by parachute. A girl who saw the crash said, "We heard the machine whistle overhead, saw it stall, and then crash like a stone. At the same time I saw a parachute fall to earth and a man struggling in the middle of a mass of parachute ropes. I ran across to the machine which was reduced to a pile of wreckage, but was too late to do anything for the pilot."

Mr. John Trowler, quarry foreman, of Guildford, said, "The machine came across the field at a terrific rate. The pilot struggled hard to control it, but it turned upside down and dropped like a stone near some cattle."

The observer's parachute did not open until he was nearly at roof top height. The tailless glider - which crashed shortly after being released by its towing plane, was one of three built by the General Aircraft Co. for general research into flying tailless aircraft. The pilot of the glider was Squadron Leader Robert Kronfeld. His assistant, who escaped by parachute was Barry McGowan, of Camberley, Surrey, who was admitted to hospital suffering from shock.
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John
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 15:35:53 PM »

Not sure if this image, © IWM (ATP 14895C), is TS507, but if not it still gives a good idea of what the glider looked like.

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Icare9
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2015, 18:17:09 PM »

Oh dear, why do you do this to me John?
First I found out that Kronfeld had a distinguished career both in Austria and then fled when the Nazis banned Jews from flying.
He also was awarded the Air Force Cross for his development work on tailless gliders...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kronfeld

that then took me to the Baynes Bat (cue pomme homme?) which (once I stopped laughing) was to develop a means of FLYING tanks into battle..... (more ROFL) and then found we weren't the only ones to try and get tanks with wings....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonov_A-40

Happy New Year all
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pomme homme
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2015, 18:17:37 PM »

This is the aeroplane in question.

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pomme homme
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2015, 18:39:05 PM »

Kronfeld was a leading light in early gliding. He was the first person to fly a glider across the English Channel. When Charles Lowe-Wylde was killed flying one of his BAC Planettes his company (BAC) was acquired by Col. the Master of Semphill, who appointed Kronfeld managing director of the new company which produced the BAC Drone, developed from the Planette. In 1936 the company became Kronfeld Ltd. Kronfeld introduced a further development of the Planette, the Drone de Luxe. Ultimately he developed a two seater version, the Kronfeld Monoplane, which was not successful. In consequence and being heavily indebted to GAL, Kronfeld Ltd. appointed a receiver in 1937. Kronfeld became a British Citizen in 1939 and held the rank of Squadron Leader whilst serving in the RAF in WW2. After the war, he became the chief test pilot to GAL. It was whilst performing that rôle he died in the crash of TS507. That crash led to the termination of government funded research into flying wings.  
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pomme homme
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2015, 21:05:02 PM »

that then took me to the Baynes Bat (cue pomme homme?) which (once I stopped laughing) was to develop a means of FLYING tanks into battle.....

If you like the concept of gliding tanks, then I'm sure that you'll like the idea of a rotary winged flying jeep! Yes, there was one and it flew. Just google Hafner Rotabuggy. Raoul Hafner also came up with a design for a flying tank but his, unlike the Bat of Leslie Baynes, never came to fruition.
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John
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2017, 15:41:58 PM »

Illustrated London News - Saturday 21 February 1948

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