HC Deb 11 July 1955 vol 543 cc1561-2
24. Sir A. Bossom

asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a statement about the effects of sonic bangs; and what measures he proposes to take to reduce this disturbance.

Mr. Maudling

Yes, Sir; but as the answer is rather long, I will, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, give it at the end of Questions.

31. Sir N. Hulbert

asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a statement in regard to his contractor's aircraft which broke through the sound barrier over London on the night of 4th-5th July.

Mr. Maudling

Yes, Sir. A Gloster Javelin flying from the contractor's airfield was on a routine night flight in connection with the Javelin development. The aircraft was cruising at a high altitude and near the speed of sound when the pilot's oxygen supply failed; during the ensuing confusion he inadvertently exceeded the speed of sound, causing the bang. A bang from such a height can be heard over a wide area and the aircraft was not in fact over Greater London when the bang was made. I would ask my hon. Friend to await the statement which I shall be making at the end of Questions about the effect of supersonic flying and the measures which I am taking to control it. I am satisfied that the incident was an exceptional one and the pilot has expressed his regret for the disturbance caused.

Mr. Wigg

May I take it that the right hon. Gentleman will agree that when this incident occurred the aircraft was in a dive and not on level flight?

Mr. Maudling

I think that is said in the statement made by the firm.