Republic P-47D Thunderbolt 42-7925 of the 495th FTG USAAF, crashed on the edge of the town of Nantwich in Cheshire on the 14th January 1944
|Arthur L. Brown||1st Lieutenant||Pilot||Killed|
At about 14:00 on the 14th January 1944 two flights of P-47s left Atcham near Shrewsbury with an instructor as flight leader. They climbed to between 22 and 24,000ft where the formation carried out a cross over turn. After completing the turn the flight leader was aware that one aircraft from ‘purple’ section was no longer in the formation. A trainee pilot in the other section had noticed the No.3 in ‘purple’ oscillating left/right and up/down during the turn, but generally holding formation. Once he completed the turn he glanced across and could only see two of the three aircraft in the other section.
The flight leader attempted to contact Lt Brown by radio as did the ground controller but neither was able to make contact.
After this another flight in the area saw an aircraft carrying what was described as ‘crazy aerobatics’ at altitude before going into a spin / dive from which it did not recover.
The investigating officers concluded that the strange manoeuvring and lack of radio contact was most likely caused by Lt Brown becoming unconscious due to a failure within the oxygen system.
In response to the accident report representatives of the Commanding General 8th AF suggested that the crash was not entirely due to mechanical failure as there were means of getting oxygen should the standard auto mix fail. However this would have required the pilot to recognise the onset of anoxia before losing useful consciousness, which is recorded as being up to several minutes at the altitude the loss of control occurred at, and selecting one of two alternative settings for the oxygen equipment.