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29/11/1943 - North American P-51 43-6344 


Type   Serial No   Unit   Station   Duty   Crew   Passengers
P-51B   43-6344 310th Ferrying Squadron   Warton  Ferry Flight   1   0  

After signing all the paperwork and collecting North American P-51B aircraft No 43-6344, from Lockheed’s Overseas Corporation, Flying Officer Rybaczek was taxing along the perimeter track at 15:15 hours to get into a take off position for a ferry flight to Warton, when his right wing scraped a lorry parked on the outer grass verge, near to the perimeter track. This collision resulted in the wing tip being torn off and the outboard end of the starboard aileron being damaged, the aircraft was repaired on site by Lockheed’s Overseas Corporation. The windscreen of the lorry was also smashed.

The lorry a 60 feet articulator which was from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton and was driven by Royal Marine driver Douglas Allen who recalled the incident at the time,

“On the 29th November, 1943, at approximately 13:15 hours, I parked my vehicle on the grass verge on the outer edge of the aerodrome perimeter track at the RAF station, Speke. I left the vehicle to enquire as to a Swordfish aircraft which it was my duty to collect”.

“I was returning to my lorry and noticed that an aircraft had passed the vehicle and had stopped. When I reached my lorry I found that the windscreen was broken”.

  “I spoke to the pilot of the aircraft asking what I was to do, but I could not hear his reply and he taxied away without giving any instructions or information”.

“I reported the incident to Lieutenant (A) I E Tovey, RNVR, the engineering officer of No 776 Naval Air Squadron, Speke”.

“I have spent three years as a driver on Naval Air Stations, and in my opinion the lorry was parked at an adequate distance from the perimeter track”. 

The official cause of the accident was put down to 50% pilot error and 50% driver error. Flying Officer Rybaczek was sadly killed shortly after this accident in another ferrying accident when his aircraft crashed on the 16/02/1945.

After the war P-51 No 43-6344 became Fv26001 of the Royal Swedish Air Force.

Position   Name   Rank   Service No   Age   Status  
Pilot   Eugene Rybaczek   Flying Officer   T-190748   - OK  

Speke Incidents