Ben Dunnell explores The Aeroplane’s outstanding archives to cast new light on past stories

Henri Mignet (right) shows his new HM18 to Harry Stead, mayor of Ramsgate, and Whitney Straight, co-director of Ramsgate Airport, at the 3 August 1936 meeting.

By the summer of 1936, the flaw afficting Henri Mignet’s light aircraft for the masses had already made itself known. The fatal loss on 4 May that year of HM14 G-AEEW, which crashed during a display at Penshurst, Kent, caused particular consternation — and calls for action. The unfortunate pilot, Flt Lt Ambrose Powell, was the Air League’s test pilot for the ‘Pou-du- Ciel’ (Flying Flea). Its secretary, Air Cdre Sir John Chamier, was himself a ‘Pou’ owner, but he called on the Air Ministry for the type to be grounded pending investigation.

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