Report blames ‘unexpected gust of wind’ for aircraft crash at Felthorpe Airfield

Light aircraft pictured after it crashed at Felthorpe, near Taverham. Pic credit: East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) Light aircraft pictured after it crashed at Felthorpe, near Taverham. Pic credit: East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST)

Friday, December 27, 2013
5:43 PM

An unexpected gust of wind has been blamed for an accident which earlier this year left a light aircraft hanging from a tree, while the pilot escaped with minor injuries.

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Details published in a new report said the incident, which took place at Felthorpe Airfield, near Taverham, happened during the aircraft’s final stages of landing on August 17.

A gust of wind lifted the aircraft’s right wing causing the left wing to drop and hit a tree, which ultimately led to the plane crashing.

The 74-year-old pilot, who had 611 hours of flying experience, managed to climb out to safety through the broken windscreen, walking away with just minor injuries.

After the crash a spokesman for Felthorpe Flying Group Limited, which operates the airfield based at Taverham Road, said: “He was very lucky. He’s walked away with a scratch and, quite frankly, having seen the pictures myself for the first time, he was very lucky he’s got away with it.”

The Rallye Commodore craft - owned by Michael Powell of Chapel Road, Upton, near Acle - was built in 1967 but was written off in the crash.

The report from the Air Accident Investigation Branch added that the pilot was returning to Felthorpe after an uneventful flight.

It said: “At approximately 500 yards from the threshold the approach was normal.

“A gust of wind lifted the right wing and the left wing contacted the first of a line of trees running from close to the runway threshold in a southerly direction.

“The contact with the tree caused the aircraft to yaw left and, despite the fact that the pilot tried to counter the swing, his low airspeed meant that he could not prevent the aircraft from entering the tree line again.

“Here it came to a halt, hanging nose-down from the fourth tree and supported by its left wingtip on the ground; the engine had also detached. The pilot evacuated through the broken windscreen.”

3 comments

  • Having flown light aircraft a few times when training for PPL (failed) ran out of money ...if a gust of wind would make the aircraft touch a tree... I would suggest he was to low coming in to land ??...... mind you any landing you walk away from etc .......

    Report this comment

    musicman

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • I flew professionally for 40+ years and as a glider pilot for 50+. I knew - at the age of 66 - that the time had come to hang up my parachute. Gusty winds are quite normal but perhaps beyond most 74 year-olds. I was pragmatic enough to quit while I was ahead.

    Report this comment

    JackH-1938

    Friday, December 27, 2013

  • I would be worried about a 74 year old driving on the road, let alone flying!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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