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09/06/1944 - Northrop P-61A 42-5548
Type Serial No Unit Station Duty Crew Passengers
Northrop P-61A 42-5548 422nd Night Fighter Squadron Scorton Non operational cross country 2 2
On the 9th June 1944 at 14:30 hours a Northrop P-61A, No 42-5548 of the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron took off from its base at Scorton on a non operational cross country flight to RAF Speke near Liverpool and when arriving at 15:20 hours entered the circuit to land, the landing gear was lowered and a landing was made, after losing speed the nose of the aircraft was let down and it was at this point the nose went all the way down with the propellers hitting the runway and skidded three quarters of the way down the runway in a straight line on its nose making a "grinding" noise.
It appeared that the front under carriage had failed to extend resulting in damage to the Perspex nose, both propellers and engines, the aircraft had only flown a total of 36 hours prior to the accident. Fortunately none of the crew were injured during the accident.
2nd Lieutenant Lewis A Gordon was a passenger in the gunners compartment and recalled the events surrounding the accident,
"On Friday June 9th I was riding in the gunners compartment of a P-61 type of aircraft engaged on a scheduled flight from Scorton to Speke The flight was without occurrence until we prepared to land. At this time the pilot made a customary approach, put the landing gear handle in the down position and prepared to land. The pilot received no red light from flying control and the emergency landing gear horn was not sounding so he set the plane down on the main gear holding the nose wheel off. When half way down the runway the pilot eased the stick forward to let nose wheel down. The nose went clear forward striking the runway since the nose wheel had failed to come down. The pilot cut the switches and the plane skidded three quarters of the way down the runway. The pilot, navigator and passenger got out through the pilot's emergency exit and the radar operator the normal exit in the rear. On examining the aircraft it was found the nose gear had failed to come down, the nose was damaged and the props badly bent. I was not injured".

The 422nd Night Fighter Squadron was the leading P-61 outfit in the European Theatre of Operations, destroying 43 enemy aircraft in the air, 5 flying bombs and hundreds of ground based vehicles, becoming the most successful night fighter Squadron of the war.

Position Rank  Name Service No Age Status
Pilot Captain George W Reynolds O-726681 - OK
Passenger Flight Officer Creel H Morrison T-192688 - OK
Radar Observer Flight Officer Eilutherios Eleftherion T-192692 - OK
Passenger 2nd Lieutenant Lewis A Gordon 0-745885 - OK

Speke Incidents