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Fatal Accidents in the UK 2013

AEROPLANES

15 November
Cessna 310Q, G-BXUY: Hawarden Aerodrome, Cheshire  
The aircraft was approaching to land at Hawarden after flying from Lognes-Emerainville near Paris following a flight from Urgel Airport in Catalonia, close to the pilot’s property in Andorra.  The approach appeared normal until in the later stages when it deviated left of the centreline, witnesses reporting fluctuating engine rpm and the aircraft yawing from side to side with the wings rocking.  With very little height or time available he appears to have attempted to go-around after the speed had fallen below the minimum control speed.  The left engine had stopped due to fuel starvation resulting from mismanagement of the aircraft’s fuel state.  It crashed on the aerodrome killing the pilot and his wife.   It is probable the pilot intended to complete the flight using fuel from the main tanks (tip) only and loaded them with what he considered to be sufficient fuel, however, the quantity was insufficient for safe completion of the flight. Options to use the auxiliary tank fuel, each was found to contain approx 30 litres of fuel, or to land and refuel were available to the pilot.  There was no evidence of a prepared fuel plan and his flight time had been more than his planned time.  The pilot’s known attitude to fuel prices and that he had established that cheaper fuel was available at Hawarden (9p per litre cheaper than at Longnes) made it unlikely he loaded more fuel than he considered necessary and that auxiliary tank fuel was available.  The 58 year old pilot had flown 1,645 hrs with 261 on type.  In August 2013 he had flown four flights with an instructor and examiner to renew his Multi-Engine Piston rating. 
(AAIB Bulletin 11/2014).   


30 September
Socata TB10 Tobago: G-CFME: Nr Downside Abbey, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset
The aircraft was en-route from a private airstrip near Taunton Somerset to its home base of Henlow airfield, Beds.  The outbound flight was made in excellent weather conditions on 27th September and due to tablet GPS problems resulted in a Luton Zone infringement.  Poor weather was forecast for the return flight but the pilot obtained only minimal met. info which led him to believe conditions were suitable.  At 07.23 he telephoned a Bedfordshire instructor to enquire about the Henlow weather and was given the Luton weather, which he appeared content with.  Shortly after taking off at 10.23 he contacted Bristol Airport ATC who responded, but no further transmissions were received.  The GPS track showed that at various stages the pilot was unable to make progress along his desired route and may even have started to turn back.  The aircraft passed low over the Somerset Levels heading for the Mendip Hills which rise to nearly 1,000 ft with low cloud, reduced visibility and rain.  Witnesses in the accident site area reported engine sounds as if it was manoeuvring but could not see it due to the low cloud.  Witnesses working on the roof of Downside Abbey saw it approach well below the 166 ft agl tower and having to take evasive action by pitching up and rolling to the right to avoid colliding with it followed soon afterwards by the sound of impact.  The impact was steeply nose down at 630 ft amsl.    The manoeuvre may have disoriented or incapacitated the pilot.  .The 66 year old pilot had flown 332 hours, with 34 on type and 9.5 in the last 28 days. 
(AAIB Bulletin 8/2014).   

4 September
Cessna T303 Crusader: N289CW - approx 5 nm from Jersey Airport
The aircraft was returning from Dinan, France to Jersey and had joined the circuit for runway 09.The aircraft turned onto the runway heading and was slightly left of the centreline.  It commenced a descent and left turn with the descent continuing to 100 ft when he made a short radio transmission and the aircraft’s altitude increased rapidly to 600 ft before it descended and disappeared from the radar.  It probably stalled in the final pull-up manoeuvre leading to loss of control and impact with the sea killing the two occupants.  The accident was probably the result of the pilot’s attempt to recover to normal flight following a stall or significant loss of airspeed at a low height after a rapid climb manoeuvre having become disoriented during the approach in fog.  The 56 year old pilot had flown 524 hours with 319 on type. 
(AAIB Bulletin 5/2014).


21 August
Europa XS: G-GBXS - Common Farm Airstrip, Wymeswold, Lincs
The aircraft was based at the airstrip, the pilot and passenger planned to land away at an undefined East Anglian airfield.  A witness saw the aircraft make a normal take off but as it made a left turn crosswind he saw it roll abruptly left by about 70 deg from which it recovered with large elevator and aileron inputs before continuing down wind.  The GPS evidence indicated that the pilot decided to abandon the flight and return to the strip.  The aircraft’s position downwind was closer and lower, about 160 ft agl, than on other flights recorded on the GPS.  It was not possible to determine why the aircraft did not accelerate or climb to a greater height which may have indicated the pilot did not or could not use full power from the Rotax 914UL.  During the downwind leg the speed was only 10 kts above the clean stall speed and this deceased significantly during the base turn leading to stall and loss of control from which the pilot was unable to recover.  It impacted a field in a steep nose down attitude killing both occupants.  The Permit Flight Test showed a clean stall of 54 kts, flaps down 46 kts with the stall warner activating 7 kts above the clean stall and 11 kts above during the flaps down stall.  The 56 year old pilot had flown about 460 hours of which 104 were on type with 20 hours in the last 90 days.
(AAIB Bulletin 8/2014).

21 July
Cirrus SR22: N 147KA, English Channel
The aircraft was flying from Blackbushe, Hants to Le Touquet,  France when it disappeared from radar.  Small sections recovered from the sea indicated a high energy impact with the surface.  The aircraft was being flown in conditions of low cloud or sea fog with little or no discernible horizon. The 36 year old pilot, the sole occupant, did not have an instrument or IMC rating.  He had flown a total of 192 hours of which 76 were on type. The last recorded radar return showed the aircraft to be at 1,030 ft amsl.  The cause of the accident could not be determined but lack of evidence that the pilot used the emergency parachute and absence of any emergency radio call means that pilot incapacitation could not be discounted(AAIB Bulletin 4/2014)

16 June
Beech 58 Baron: G-CIZZ - Mt Mindino, Nr Albenga, Italy
The pilot, the sole occupant, was killed when the twin piston engine aircraft struck a mountain in poor visibility.

19 May
Piper PA28-140 Cherokee- G-ATRR - Caernarfon Airport, Wales
The aircraft was being flown from Blackpool to Caernarfon by the 61 year old pilot, who had been there several times before, with his adult son in the front passenger seat and the pilot’s 5 year old grandson in the rear left seat.  Approaching Caernarfon several witnesses to the later stages of the approach saw the aircraft lower than usual and some noted that the nose attitude was high and several commented that the flight path appeared flat and the aircraft very slow.   Comments were made about engine popping and spluttering.  It struck the crown of a tree before crashing in a 50 deg nose down attitude and flipped onto its back.  The Lycoming 0-320 engine was producing low or no power at impact.  The pilot and his grandson were seriously injured and the front seat passenger was killed, there being evidence to suggest he had not been restrained by either a lap or shoulder harness at the time of the accident.   The local air ambulance helicopter was airborne in the local area and the pilot was listening out on frequency, thus medical help arrived quickly. Conditions were such that carb. icing could be expected at any power setting.  The airport operator had not been aware of the tree infringement and has had it trimmed and has reduced the TORA.   

Although not contributing to the cause of the accident, it was found that the rear spar bolts were missing and had probably been removed and not replaced.  A review of the maintenance records showed the engine had exceeded its overhaul life by 1.7 years.  As a result the CAA carried out an audit of the two other PA28 aircraft belonging to the owner which revealed a number of discrepancies and non-conformances and he was given a month to rectify matters.  A re-audit found that not all concerns had been addressed and as a result the CAA suspended the C of A of all 8 aircraft registered to the owner. The pilot had flown for 90 hours with 72 on type.  
(AAIB Bulletin 6/2014). 


27 April                  
Replica Fokker E111:  G-CHFS:  Middle Wallop, Hants
The aircraft was a full-scale replica built as closely as possible to the original design and powered by a Warner Scarab 145 engine.  A group of 7 replica First World War aircraft had gathered at Middle Wallop for a practice air display as they had done the previous year.  The Group had been in existence since 1988.  After flying from Popham in company with another aircraft they briefed with the other pilots and walked through the display sequence several times before taking off for a first practice flight followed by a de-brief.  A perimeter track on the airfield was being used as a simulated crowd line.  After a further walk through, the aircraft took off for a second practice.  At a about 200 feet the aircraft was seen to fly along he simulated crowd line before turning through about 180 deg , level its wings and turn again before continuing in a turn whist descending until it struck the round whilst steeply banked in a near vertical attitude.  The pilot was killed instantaneously followed by an intense fire.  The pilot of another aircraft put out a Mayday call on the ATC VHF frequency but this was not heard y the fire section as a shift change was in progress.  One of the display pilots landed close to the site and attempted to tackle the fire with the extinguisher from his aircraft.  The site was hidden from the fire station and the blaze was tackled by them approx 8 minutes later.   Based on evidence from the Permit issue flight test the most likely scenario is that the aircraft entered a sideslip while the pilot’s attention was outside the cockpit and diverted from the slip indictor so that the subsequent roll could not be reversed by the wing-warping roll control system.   The aircraft had only flown 11 hours from new of which the 68 year old pilot had flown 10 hours out of his total flying experience of 1,903 hours. 
(AAIB Bulletin /2014).    

HELICOPTERS

29 November
Eurocopter EC135T2: G-SPAO - Glasgow City Centre
The twin-engined helicopter departed at 20.45 hrs from it’s base at Glasgow City Heliport, on board were the pilot and two police officers.  It contained 400 kg of fuel.  It remained at 1,000 ft amsl about 2 miles from it’s base for about 30 minutes before transiting to Dalkieth about 38 nm east of the heliport where it remained for a further 10 minutes before returning to Glasgow via Bothwell and Bargeddie.  At 22.18 the pilot requested ATC clearance to enter the Glasgow Control Zone.  This was the last transmission.  At about 22.22 hrs witnesses heard noises like a misfiring car followed by silence and saw the helicopter descend rapidly crashing through the roof of the Clutha Bar in Central Glasgow.  The three helicopter occupants and six people in the bar were killed with 12 receiving serious injuries.  Examination showed that neither the main rotor nor the fenestron tail rotor were rotating.  Approx 95 litres of fuel were drained from the fuel tank system.  Preliminary examination shows no evidence of mechanical disruption of either engine and that the main rotor gearbox was capable of providing drive to the main rotor and fenestron.  Weather at the time of the accident was CAVOK with a wind 300/7 temperature 5 deg C and dew point 2 deg.  The 51 year old pilot had flown 5,592 hours with 646 on type. 
(AAIB Special Bulletin S9/2013).

16 January
                
Agusta AW109E: G-CRST - St George Wharf, Vauxhall, London.    
The twin engined helicopter was en route from Redhill, Surrey to Elstree, Herts to collect a client.  The pilot received a Special VFR clearance to fly over Battersea Heliport not above 1,000 ft, later being cleared to climb to 1,500 ft.  Overhead  Elstree  it was apparent that the weather was unsuitable for landing and the pilot requested a return to Redhill and was later cleared to divert to Battersea Heliport.  While approaching the Heliport in reduced visibility from the east the helicopter struck the top of a construction crane at a height of approx 700 ft attached to a building development at St George Warf.  The helicopter and part of the crane crashed onto Wandsworth Road killing a pedestrian and injuring a number of others.  The last Air Traffic communication with the helicopter was clearance to change to the heliport frequency.  During the course of the flight the pilot had sent or received 9 text messages.  According to witnesses the top of the crane was in cloud at the time of the accident.  It is required by the ANO to be lit at night and a NOTAM giving details of the site was in force.
(11 page AAIB Special Bulletin S1/2013)

MICROLIGHTS

6 October
Pegasus XL-R: was G-MVKM - Stourton, West Midlands
The pilot was flying the weight-shift microlight from a field that he had used previously.  He took off at 16.53 hrs and between 5 and 10 minutes later returned and circled the field before making an approach from a north easterly direction.  During the latter stages he collided with high voltage power cables that spanned the corner of the field under the approach path, killing the pilot.  The angle of the sun, the orientation of the cables with the ruts in the field and location of the support poles may have made the cables hard to see as no avoiding action was taken.  The microlight was in good condition but its Certificate of Validity had lapsed on 27 May 2010 and had been de-registered on 30 November 2012.  The post mortem revealed the 52 year old pilot had a number of pre-existing medical conditions one of which had the potential to cause painful, distracting and possibly incapacitating conditions.  His previous flights averaged 42 minutes and his early return on this flight may have been due to concern about the fading light or due to painful medical symptoms.  He had been flying a microlight aircraft since 2006 but investigation could not find any evidence of him ever holding a licence. His logbook showed 12 training flights between June 2006 and August 2007 and since then had flown 82 flights in microlights he was recorded as owning. 
(AAIB Bulletin 5/2014). 

28 August
Rans S6-ESD Coyote ll: G-MYSP - Redhill Aerodrome, Surrey
The pilot was practising circuits at Redhill Aerodrome and during the third circuit was seen to touch down smoothly before taking off and climbing away.  At approx 500 ft witnesses heard the engine falter before decelerating whilst still in a climbing attitude until it rolled slightly left followed by the right wing dropping into a near vertical dive from which it did not recover. The pilot was fatally injured.  The three axis microlight had a Rotax 582 two-stroke engine and was fitted with a carburettor heating system that warmed both carbs continuously as well as a dual ignition system.  Investigation did not identify any defect  within the engine, gearbox or fuel system.  The pilots relative inexperience and the limited time available to react to the sudden power reduction are likely factors in not lowering the nose before the aircraft stalled.  The 57 year old pilot had flown 63 hours with 4 on type. 
(AAIB Bulletin 6/2014). 

14 July
Rans S6 -ES Coyote ll - G-BYMV - Nr Stoke Golding Airstrip, Leicester
The pilot took off accompanied by his wife and positioned right hand downwind for RW 26.  He flew the aircraft regularly, usually accompanied by his wife.  Towards the end of the downwind leg the aircraft made a descending turn onto a final approach heading for but not lined up with the extended centreline and may have mistaken the distinctive mown grass strip in the field north of the airfield.  It made some slight turns before entering an incipient spin to the right striking the ground in a steep nose down attitude at around 70 to 80 deg. at relatively low speed 400m North of the threshold, coming to rest inverted.  Both occupants suffered fatal injuries.  The high wing nose-wheel aircraft with side by side seating was fitted with a Rotax 582 two-stroke engine.   Training to renew his licence prior to passing his General Skills test highlighted weaknesses in navigation, circuit flying, speed control and use of rudder.  The 76 year old pilot had 365 hours with 305 on type and 7 hours in the last 90 days. 
(AAIB Bulletin 6/2014).


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