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Fatal Accidents in the UK 2010

AEROPLANES

4 September
Mooney M20J (G-JAST) and Vans RV-4 (G-MARX): Near Ryde, Isle of Wight
The Mooney M20J and the Rans RV-4 were participating in the Merlin Trophy Race, starting and finishing at Bembridge Airport, a pre-cursor for the Schneider Trophy Race the following day. After the last turn of the race, over 5 laps of the 23 mile anticlockwise course, the Mooney began to overtake the RV-4 when the aircraft collided and the Mooney broke up in flight killing the two occupants. The RV-4 landed flapless at Bembridge where the right landing gear collapsed with minor injuries to the two occupants. The RV propeller removed much of the Mooney cabin roof before severing the left wing rear spar. The Mooney pitched up and the wing failed. Both pilots had lost sight of each other and the upward visibility from the overtaking Mooney was very poor with the pilot unable to see the RV for about 39 seconds. When the Mooney was in the RV’s blind spot and neither could see the other, the Mooney was seen by a following aircraft to pitch up into the RV.
(See AAIB Bulletin 06/2011)

10 July
G-BIMO Stampe SV4C: Nr. Rotherfield Peppard, Oxon
The aircraft took off from White Waltham and climbed to 3,650 ft where a rolling aerobatic manoeuvre was entered at an appropriate speed. It departed from controlled flight and entered an inverted spin which continued for 8 turns lasting 37 seconds before it struck the ground killing both occupants. The aircraft original Renault engine had been replaced by a Gipsy Major Mk 10 which was running at low rpm at impact. The pilot owner seated in the front cockpit had about 200 hours with 95 on type and had undertaken aerobatic training and was competent in solo aileron rolls and loops. He recorded the entire accident sequence on a helmet mounted digital video camera, however it was not possible to determine who had been flying the aircraft. The other occupant also had a PPL with about 200 hours and had a share in a Jungmann and had been shown aerobatic manoeuvres during his difference training.
(See AAIB Bulletin 5/2011)

19 June
G-DUKK - Extra EA300L: Methley Bridge, Castleford, W. Yorks
The pilot planned to give three displays on the day of the accident, the first two were performed without incident following the sequence on his display card. He took off from his base at Sherburn-in-Elmet and flew the 7 miles to the Methley Boatyard Festival. The early part of the display was not the sequence shown on the card and the aircraft fell out of a manoeuvre into a flat spin from which it recovered into a steep dive without sufficient room in which to pull out, killing the pilot on impact. The 31 year old was an airline pilot and held an unlimited Display Authorisation for unlimited aerobatics to a minimum height of 300 ft.
(See AAIB Bulletin 02/2011)

29 May
N Reg Beech B55 Baron: Menorca, Spain
The UK Midlands based N registered aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from San Luis Mahon airport while preparing to participate in Air Race Menorca. The occupants, the pilot and his son, were killed when it impacted approx 100 metres from the end of the runway, reportedly while in a tight turn. The Spanish Authority is investigating.

9 May
G-JDIX - Mooney M20B: Old Buckenham, Norfolk
The 66 year old Czech pilot took off from Old Buckenham for Hohenems Airport, close to his home in Austria. About 4 hours later the pilot called Old Buckenham for the airfield details, but failed to arrive. The aircraft had landed un-announced at Tibenham some 4.5 nm south east using the wrong runway and without regard for the gliding operations. Several club members spoke to the pilot who was in an agitated state soaked in sweat and he was encouraged not to continue. He took off without a radio call and ignored the instructions given to him. After calling Old Buckenham he did not fly a recognised approach path and was seen at low speed to drop a wing and spiral into the ground about 600 metres from the airfield where it burned fiercely. The impact was consistent with a spin to the left. The aircraft’s C of A had expired in February 2010, his Austrian licence and medical were valid. Previously he had failed to comply with UK Borders Agency criteria. The pilot’s standard of airmanship from his home airfield and in the UK appeared questionable. The post-mortem failed to reveal anything, drug screening was not performed.
(See AAIB Bulletin 02/2011)

17 April
Dyn'Aero MCR-01: Weyhill, Nr Thruxton, Hants
The aircraft was returning from a Duxford Safety day to a strip near Bournemouth. The D & D Cell received a call on 121.5 stating the aircraft was at 3,600 ft overhead Andover and the cabin was filling with smoke and that he intended to divert to Thruxton. Witnesses saw it flying lower than usual before entering a nose down spin before crashing and burning killing both occupants. The pilot had 398 hours with 180 on type and the passenger was a lapsed PPL. The post mortem did not reveal elevated levels of carbon monoxide or cyanide in the blood and incapacitation was unlikely. The investigation concluded that a Rotax 912-UL engine fire was not the cause of the smoke and that the deteriorating cockpit environment may have been the result of an electrical or wiring fault.
(See AAIB Bulletin 3/2011)

15 January
N Reg Piper PA31P Pressurised Navajo: Bladon, Oxon
The N registered aircraft took off from Oxford for a planned flight to FL190, visibility was 2,000 m with a 200 ft cloudbase. The pilot was an ATPL with 12,500 hours whose main activity was an airline training captain on the B737-800. The passenger was the owner who had a PPL but was not experienced with either the aircraft or flight in IMC. Brize Norton Radar cleared the aircraft to FL80 and saw it climb to 1,500 ft when it started to descend and two minutes later it crashed in an approximately level attitude in a snow covered field. The post mortem revealed that the 54 year old pilot had severe coronary heart disease with evidence to suggest that he may have been incapacitated or died prior to impact. The radar traces indicated the passenger may have taken control and attempted to fly the aircraft.
(See AAIB Bulletin 11/2010)

HELICOPTERS

9 December:
Robinson R22: G-CBVL - Tourettes-sur-Loup, Nr Nice, France
The helicopter was being ferried to the UK via the Rhone valley for a new owner, at attempt the day before had been thwarted by poor weather.  At take off in light winds at 07.33 from a private site at Cuneo,  Italy north of Menton and close to the border, the helicopter was 27 kg above the maximum permitted but by the time of the accident it was down to the allowed maximum of 621 kg.  After contact with Nice FIS requesting transit at 4,300 ft to the north of the zone, when it was about 8 nm west of Nice it encountered an area of severe turbulence.   This caused severe positive and negative g resulting in a main rotor blade tearing off the cockpit door and left skid and loss of rotor blade, probably the result of inappropriate control input by the pilot.  It crashed in a wooded area at about 700 metres amsl 2km SW of Tourettes killing both occupants.  The Met conditions gave the wind at 1,600 ft as 280 deg 25kts maximum 45 kts and at 4,775 ft as 300 at 59 kts.  At the accident site conditions were clear with very good visibility.   The 50 year old pilot had won the UK Helicopter Championship 8 times and had flown 2,374 hours.  The report cited pressure to make the flight known in the UK as get-there-itis. 
(24 page BEA Report).    

23 October
N2NR: Agusta A109A ll: Shinilieve Mourne Mountains, N. Ireland
The helicopter was on a VFR flight from a private site near Londonderry to Caernarfon Airport, Wales. It was not possible to establish what met information the pilot obtained before taking off from St Angelo airport for the private site. While the helicopter was flying at 2,000 ft at 150 kts, nearby hill walkers heard it fly over followed by the sound of impact. In the 100 m visibility they located the burning wreckage some 100 ft below the summit of 2,054 ft high Shanlieve, the 3 occupants had been killed. The helicopter was fitted with Enhanced GPWS but it had not been powered up since it was  reconfigured with new software and terrain database in Oct/Nov 2009. The helicopter was approved for IFR flight with VOR, DME and NDB, together with two moving map displays Bendix/King Skymap IIIC and Garmin GPS Map 695 as well as a Garmin GNS430 although in the latter the Jeppesen data base had not been updated since installation in 2003. The route taken may have mistakenly been in order to avoid Prohibited Area P436 which had in fact been withdrawn for the 2008 chart and was not included in the Skymap data base or on the pilots chart but was still being shown in the St Angelo flight planning area and probably in each of the GNS430 nav displays. The pilot held an ATPL and had flown 12,733 hours with 1,634 on type.
(See AAIB Bulletin 11/2011)

GLIDERS

8 August
SZD-24-4A Foka 4: Bicester Airfield, Oxon
During a gliding week for 60 students from universities from around the UK, the glider owner was not present but the pilot had previously flown the 1966 single seater and had seen the owner rig and de-rig it. He had also taken the Flight manual home and studied it. On his second flight in it, at between 600 and 1,000 ft the wings separated from the fuselage and it crashed killing the pilot. The pilot had flown 226 hours with 2.5 on type and held a number of BGA Certificates. Investigation revealed that the lower bevel bolt of the wing main fitting had not fully engaged with the lower lug stack of the main spar joint. It was not possible to detect this condition. There had been a similar fatal accident in the USA of a glider using the same type of fitting. In September 2010 the BGA issued a Safety Alert applicable to the Foka 4 and to gliders with similar rigging mechanisms including but not limited to SZD Cobra, Bocian, Jaskolka, and Schempp-Hirth SHK Austria Series.
(See AAIB Bulletin 5/2011)

MICROLIGHTS

18 January
P & M Quik R: English Channel, 20 nm W of Le Touguet
The 700 hour pilot was on the first leg of a charity flight from Gloucestershire Airport to Sydney, Australia. Although planning to land at Le Touquet, the poor weather resulted in the pilot informing the Lille Controller that he intended to divert to Abbeville and was diverting around the Le Touquet airspace. When nothing further was heard search and rescue was initiated and at 22.00 hrs the pilots body was found by a searching Portuguese tug. No trace of the almost new aircraft has been found. The pilot was used to long-distance flights and was carrying, but not wearing, an immersion suit although the sea temperature was 8 deg C. The autopsy revealed that death was due to impact with the water at a high rate of descent and little forward speed indicating loss of control after encountering poor weather conditions.
(See AAIB Bulletin 11/2010)

PARACHUTES

4 June
Single parachutes: nr Langar, Notts
While taking part in a free-fall practice with four others, two experienced parachutists collided just after deploying their parachutes. These became entangled and both died on impact after they were unable to deploy their reserve 'chutes.

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