British European Airways Flight 548 was a Trident airliner (registration: G-ARPI) that crashed less than three minutes after departing from London Heathrow Airport, killing all 118 aboard. On Sunday, 18 June 1972, the British European Airways (BEA) Trident 1C departed from London, England for scheduled air service to Brussels, Belgium, but crashed near the town of Staines at 16:11 GMT. The finding of the public inquiry was that the crash resulted from a deep stall caused by the pilot’s error in configuring the aircraft, based on data recovered from the Flight Data Recorder. The accident was the worst air disaster in Britain prior to the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.
The process and findings of the public inquiry were considered highly controversial among British pilots and the public. Extremely poor industrial relations at BEA were suggested as the real underlying cause of the accident and that the flight crew, headed by an experienced and respected senior captain, was wrongly assigned the role of scapegoat, Another, elaborate, unofficial version suggests that poor maintenance of a stall recovery system and unreliable speed sensors misled the flight crew. The recommendations from the public inquiry led to the mandatory requirement for cockpit voice recorders to be installed on heavier, British-registered airliners.