Accidental death verdict on Stortford pilot



Accidental death verdict on Stortford pilot


Report of inquest into the death in an aircraft crash of Harold Gainsford Dryhurst.

Temporal Coverage





One newspaper cutting


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AT a Luton inquest on Monday a verdict of accidental death was recorded on a Bishop’s Stortford pilot who was one of two men who died when their Hawker Siddeley 125 executive jet aircraft crashed into the Luton factory of Vauxhall Motors Ltd.
He was 45-year-old Mr. Harold Gainsford Dryhurst, of Linkside Road, a flight captain and training officer with Autair International Airways. A similar verdict was recorded on the other man, Mr. David William Boothman, aged 29, of Fir Tree Road, Silsoe, Bedfordshire, a first officer with the company.
Recommending the jury to return verdicts of accidental death, the South Bedfordshire coroner, Mr. J.A.A.I. Drew, said that the reason why the aircraft’s engines lost power before the crash and why the power was not put on sooner was still the subject of a full-scale inquiry.
But there was no evidence of criminal negligence, he said.
Mr. Drew had earlier told the jury that the aircraft, piloted by Mr. Boothman, took off from Luton Airport on a training flight. Mr. Dryhurst intended to teach the first officer to fly the plane on only one of its two engines.
Mr. Norman Price, of Manor Road, Toddington, Bedfordshire, air traffic control officer at Luton Airport, said that on- [sic] Saturday, December 23, Mr. Dryhurst told him when he taxied in for the fifth of a series of training flights that there would be a simulated engine failure on take off.
“The aeroplane climbed steeply and then everything went quiet. Both engines seemed to stop,” said Mr. Price.
“The aeroplane glided and maintained its height to the end of the runway under the existing impetus. It then slowly lost height and disappeared out of my sight.
“I became apprehensive and wondered whether they could restart the engine. Immediately afterwards there was a flash and an explosion.”


Mr. John Goulding, senior officer of the Accident Investigation Branch of the Civil Aviation Department of the Board of Trade, said there was no evidence of precrash failure of any of the engines and the aircraft had been properly maintained.
“According to the documentation I am satisfied that the aeroplane was in airworthy condition,” he said.
It was “quite clear” that there was a loss of power and that sufficient power was not restored in time.
“One engine would have been sufficient to take the aircraft away,” said Mr. Goulding.



“Accidental death verdict on Stortford pilot,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024,

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