A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Geoffrey Kolbe
Date: 2017 Jun 8, 06:12 -0000
On 25th October 1960, a Pan Am Boeing 707 with 41 passengers on board mistakenly landed at Northolt airport in Ruislip, North of London, instead of Heathrow. Northolt is a military airport about 10 km North of Heathrow airport, and about a third the length of Heathrow. No one was hurt and the plane landed safely, but I think they had to take the plane apart and remove it by road.
The problem there was that pilots used to use line up on a gasometer at Hounslow when landing at Heathrow. This particular pilot had mistaken the gasometer at South Harrow for the one at Hounslow and did not realise his error until too late. After that, a very large NO was painted on the approach side of the South Harrow gasometer.
For those not of a certain age (and not British I suspect) a gasometer is (still some left, but not the one at South Harrow) a large cylindrical tower in which gas (town gas, then natural gas, for heating and cooking in urban areas) was stored.