Jet Failure

This photo found at Weird Vintage made me go look up the story. Sylvia at Fear of Landing was intrigued as well, and gathered many sources to tell the tale. The plane was a prototype of a jet bomber called English Electric Lightning F1.

Test pilot Bob Sowray told his neighbor Jim Meads, a professional photographer, that he was going to test fly the plane on September 19, 1962. Meads was outside the airfield at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK, with his children, camera ready, hoping to catch the test flight. The test was carried out, but it was pilot George Aird in the plane instead of Sowray. Meads was talking to the tractor driver when something went wrong with the plane and Meads had just enough time to capture this picture. Pilot Aird ejected without a second to spare. He was injured, but lived to fly again. You can read the whole story with more pictures at Fear of Landing.

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