THE LOSS OF MACCHI A7-039  

As a result of the loss of A7-039, the locking mechanism for the Macchi was redesigned and a clever cam device (yellow arrow in the cockpit photo) was introduced which eliminated accidental operation.  In addition, the rear seat pilot under -the bag- would no longer slide the hood back for landing.   It did mean however that in the event of ejection with the hood in place, the canopy had to be jettisoned first.   When jettisoning the Macchi canopy both sides were released simultaneously which allowed it to clear the aircraft cleanly.    This was tested in anger when Squadron Leader Frank Atkins jettisoned the canopy prior to he and Pilot Officer Andrew Richardson ejecting from Macchi A7-018.    It worked perfectly.  

Military flying training is not especially kind to airframes so as the Macchi fleet aged and the airframes became distorted, there were a few canopy nasties (see ADF-Serials Series 3 A7-051).   However, not nearly as many as there could have been had we not learned from the sad loss of A7-039.

The crash site is on Gin Gin Airfield and therefore not accessible to the public.  The terrain is sandy with a very fragile growth of natural flora and there is now very little evidence of an accident. 

Despite all the problems of the past, it is interesting to see that designers persist with the side opening canopy.


As a result of the loss of A7-039, the locking mechanism for the Macchi was redesigned and a clever cam device (yellow arrow in the cockpit photo) was introduced which eliminated accidental operation. In addition, the rear seat pilot under -the bag- would no longer slide the hood back for landing. It did mean however that in the event of ejection with the hood in place, the canopy had to be jettisoned first. When jettisoning the Macchi canopy both sides were released simultaneously which allowed it to clear the aircraft cleanly. This was tested in anger when Squadron Leader Frank Atkins jettisoned the canopy prior to he and Pilot Officer Andrew Richardson ejecting from Macchi A7-018. It worked perfectly.

Military flying training is not especially kind to airframes so as the Macchi fleet aged and the airframes became distorted, there were a few canopy nasties (see ADF-Serials Series 3 A7-051). However, not nearly as many as there could have been had we not learned from the sad loss of A7-039.

The crash site is on Gin Gin Airfield and therefore not accessible to the public. The terrain is sandy with a very fragile growth of natural flora and there is now very little evidence of an accident.

Despite all the problems of the past, it is interesting to see that designers persist with the side opening canopy.


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