North American Sabre F. Mk.4 XD733 of No.66 Sqn RAF crashed on Hood Hill near Sutton Bank on the 21st September 1954
|Colin Arthur Grabham||Flying Officer||Pilot||Killed|
The pilot had been carrying out a night cross country exercise from RAF Linton-on-Ouse having taken off at 20:15. About an hour later he returned to the York area from the exercise and began his descent from 34,000ft. He passed over the station at 21:19 and two minutes later dived almost vertically in Hood Hill close to Sutton Bank. The crash carved a large crater in the rocky ground with wreckage travelling down the side of the hill in the field below.
The cause of the crash was never positively determined but was suspected to be due to a failure in the undercarriage doors, particularly the nose gear door. There had been problems with the undercarriage being slow to retract fully and another aircraft, XB635, had recently suffered from its nose door opening in the flight. This had caused the pilot to lose control of the aircraft, it was saved by the door being torn off allowing the pilot to regain control. The failure of the nose gear door on XB635 was determined to have been caused by the incorrect installation of the connection between the door operating jack and door up lock.
The door is locked in the up position by a mechanism attached to the jack via a bell crank, connecting rod and then a second bell crank. The two bell cranks being almost identical in overall shape and size. The port side (operating jack side) having a hole for a 3/8″ bolt on one end for attachment to the jack and a 1/4″ hole at the connecting rod end where as the starboard side has 1/4″ holes at both ends. The differences could lead to up to 1/8″ of play in the system.