Fatal Accidents in the UK 2016

AEROPLANES

4 December             
Cessna 150L/SZD-51-1Junior glider: G-CSFC & G-CLJK - 7.5 nm South of Leicester Airport 
The C150 was engaged on a cross country navigation training flight from Hinton-in-the-Hedges to Leicester with an Instructor and a student.  The instructor had briefed the student about the gliding activity at Husbands Bosworth.   The glider pilot had attended the morning briefing at Husbands Bosworth which included the potential for poor visibility when flying into the low sun.  The Cessna was flying at approx 2,500 ft on a northerly heading and the pilots were aware of two other aircraft to their right and another to their left but were not close enough to cause concern, but required monitoring.  The glider was suddenly seen nose-on for a very short period of time at exactly the same altitude before the instructor instinctively rolled left and dived.  Shortly after, there was a loud bang and after levelling the aircraft they became aware of damage to the right wing.  After alerting Leicester Airport they landed there without further incident.  The outboard 60cm of the right wing tip was missing along with significant local damage.  A number of airborne and ground witnesses saw the glider enter a steep nose down rolling/spinning motion following which the left outer wing section broke away.  It crashed in a field killing the pilot; the canopy had been jettisoned possibly in a late attempt to bail out.   The glider was fitted with FLARM but the Cessna did not have it. At the time of the accident, 12.31 hrs the sun was at an elevation angle of 15 deg and as seen from the glider the sun was in line with the Cessna as the two approached each other during the 28 seconds prior to the collision.  Visibility was generally good but reduced in the direction of the sun.  The other aircraft in the vicinity were a source of distraction for the pilots of the Cessna and for the glider pilot.  The 26 year old Cessna pilot had flown 1,124 hours with 815 on type and the 70 year old glider pilot had flown for 1,054 hours. Both were wearing their required prescription glasses.   (AAIB Bulletin 9/2017).  

17 October 
Cessna F150M: G-BDZC - Bourn Airfield, Cambs
The experienced glider pilot had completed four hours of dual training and had been checked out on both the Cessna 150 and 152.  He was seen doing the pre-flight inspection with the flaps fully down at 40 deg and took off with them in this position.  It did not appear to climb and flew at low level above the runway.  Approaching a line of trees beyond the end of the dropped and the appeared to enter an incipient spin before impacting the ground in a near vertical attitude killing the pilot and seriously injuring the passenger.  The runway was 600 metres long, at maximum weight and in the prevailing conditions with the flaps set at zero degrees the aircraft would have required 520 metres to clear a 50 ft obstacle.  The distance from the start of the runway to the trees was 740 metres.  Using the best available data the results suggested the aircraft was 88 kg above the maximum authorised weight. Unlike the similar C152 the flap switch on this model does not give any visual cue of the flap position.  The preflight checklist includes ‘Flaps’ 10deg.  The majority of the pilot’s previous flying had been in a touring motor glider which did not have flaps.  The AAIB have reported on two previous fatal accidents where the unintended deployment of 40 deg flap in a Cessna 150 was considered to be a factor (30 deg is the maximum setting on the C152 flaps).  The pilot had flown 363 hours with 9 on type.  (AAIB Bulletin 9/2017).  

2 October            
North American P-51D Mustang: G-MSTG - Topcroft Strip, Hardwick, Norfolk
The pilot, with a male passenger in his 80s in the rear seat, took off from Topcroft Farm airstrip and overflew a number of East Anglian WW2 USAF airfields before returning.  The aircraft was seen in a continuous descending turn, for noise abatement reasons from the north, onto an approx 1 km final for RW 28.  The wind was reported to be from NW/NNW at about 13 kts with a maximum gust of 22 kts.  The final approach appeared stable with little if any attempt to compensate for the crosswind. A three point touchdown was made but it bounced and drifted left towards the runway edge and attempted to go-around.  It remained at low level before colliding with a tree which removed the left wing before crashing in the field beyond.  The passenger seated in the approved rear seat received fatal injuries to the head and neck, likely to have been caused by hitting the inside of the canopy, although not wearing any head protection this would not have been likely to change the outcome.  The pilot received serious injuries including burns to his face and neck.  The strip was firm dry grass and is 825 metres long; the Flight Handbook shows for the calculated landing weight with the safety factors of CAA Safety Sense Leaflet No 7c the total distance required is 828 metres.  The application of power at low speed for the go-around and associated torque, corkscrew, gyroscopic and asymmetric would have in addition to the crosswind increased the tendency for the aircraft to travel to the left.   The aircraft had been well maintained and in good condition with no evidence of any contributory malfunction.  The 58 year old pilot had flown a total of 1,965 hours with 760 on type with six hours in the previous 28 days and would normally have been capable of flying under the prevailing conditions.  The flight appeared to have complied with CAP632 requirements for a cost-sharing flight although the suggested clothing standards to be worn in ex-military aircraft had not been adhered to.  (AAIB Bulletin 10/207)
        
6 August
Piper PA28-161 Cherokee Warrior ll:  G-CDER - Nr Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex
The aircraft was flown without problem for just less than 2 hours earlier in the day.  It was refuelled and took off from Lydd Airport for a local area flight over the sea when the pilot told Lydd ATC he had a problem with a rough running engine and high oil temperature; he flew a track towards Lydd.  Shortly after this, he reported that he was unable to maintain altitude but, despite it being within glide range of land, the aircraft continued on a direct track, over the sea, towards the airfield visual reporting point (VRP). The aircraft ditched 1.2 nm from Winchelsea Beach with a strong tailwind, and subsequently became inverted and sank. The pilot and aircraft were recovered from the seabed several days later. No mechanical defect was identified within the engine, which had been fully overhauled 235 flying hours previously.  The aircraft was operating at 2,200 ft in a flight regime where severe carburettor icing could occur at any power setting. The investigation did identify a chafed wire in the engine oil temperature indication system which could explain the pilot reports of high oil temperature. The 44 year old pilot had flown a total of 98 hours with 48 on type.  (AAIB Bulletin 1/2017) 

8 July
YAK-52: G-YAKB - Nr Dinton, Wilts
The aircraft was engaged on a flight for the test pilots’ school at Boscombe Down, Wilts, subcontracted to a Flying Training Organisation.  The commander, a civilian flight instructor, who had been participating in Qualitative Evaluations annually since 2010 was in the rear seat and a tutor from the school occupied the front seat.  Shortly after completing a series of aerobatic manoeuvres, the engine lost power without warning.  Attempts to restore power were unsuccessful and, at about 1,100 ft agl, the commander committed to a forced landing in a field.  Evidence showed that the pilots probably became aware of a farm strip late in the approach to the intended field and made an attempt to land on the strip. The forced landing was unsuccessful and the aircraft struck the ground in a steeply left banked attitude at the southern edge of the strip. The tutor was fatally injured and the commander sustained serious injuries.  The cause of the loss of engine power was not determined, but the reported symptoms were indicative of a fuel system problem. There have been other unexplained cases of loss of power with YAK-52 Ivchenko M-14P radial engines.  The test pilots school were not aware that the aircraft was operating on a Permit to Fly; the ANO Art 23 allows PTF aircraft to undertake Aerial Work demonstration flights without CAA permission, but only with the minimum flight crew, which in a Yak-52 is one.   If additional persons are to be carried, then CAA permission is needed. The commander believed he was performing a demonstration flight; however, because more than the minimum flight crew was on board, permission was required from the CAA, but this had not been applied for.  The report also raised issues concerning engine overhaul life, seat harness deterioration and head protection.  (AAIB Bulletin 11/2017)  

30 April
Slingsby T67M MK11 Firefly: Whitwell-on-the-Hill, North Yorkshire
The pilot and his passenger were students on the Tucano phase of their RAF training having flown the Grob Tutor during their initial flying training.  There was a light westerly wind , good visibility in excess of 10 km and broken cloud at about 3,000ft. From witness evidence the aircraft appears to have inadvertently entered a spin shortly after the apex of some form of looping manoeuvre. The recorded radar data showed an altitude of probably between 3,500 ft and 4,000ft which should have provided sufficient height if recovery action had been taken correctly and promptly.  The spin recovery action in the Grob Tutor and in the Tucano is different from the T67 in that the T67 the control column must be moved progressively forward to effect recovery.  The pilot had made four flights in the T67.  Two were as Pilot in Command and two were with instructors who flew with him to clear him to fly the club T67 and had not carried out spin recovery training so had not been taught the type-specific spin recovery.  The 25 year old pilot had flown a total of 215 hours of which Five were on type.  (AAIB Bulletin 5/2017)   


4 January
Cirrus SR20:  G-ZOGT - 4.5 nm from Dutch Coast
The recently purchased aircraft took off for a VFR flight from Gloucestershire Airport, the German pilot planning to fly it to Osnabrück-Atterheide airport in Germany. Much of the route was over the North Sea, and the aircraft was due to reach land at Den Helder. The weather forecast known before the start of the flight and for the flight in Dutch airspace was such that a VFR flight was more or less impossible.  About 6 nm before reaching the Dutch coast, the pilot reported to Dutch Flight Information Services (FIS) that he was encountering visibility problems caused by sea fog.  FIS assigned him an easterly course to the Dutch coast. The aircraft initially followed this course, but after some time it made a turn to the right, after which it followed a southerly course. The final radar images showed a northerly track, after which the aircraft disappeared from the radar around 4.5 nm to the west of the Dutch coast. After contact was lost, the Dutch FIS alerted the emergency services who initiated a search.  Parts of the aircraft were found, both floating and on the bed of the North Sea; the body of the pilot was recovered two days later.  The probable cause was a stall after the pilot had become disoriented due to lack of visual references in the poor visibility.  The 76 year old pilot had flown a total of 543 hours of which 6 hrs 30 mins was in a Cirrus SR20.  He had made three flights with an instructor in a German SR20 which had mainly analogue instruments whereas the accident aircraft was mainly digital. He had flown 385 hrs in his Cessna 172 which was mostly digital but different from the Cirrus.  The autopsy revealed death was due to impact but he was suffering from a congenital cardiac defect, it could not be established if it was relevant  but was considered to be unlikely.   (Dutch Safety Board Report dated Dec 2016). 


MICROLIGHTS 

18 Sept
EV97 Eurostar: G-GARB - Nr Builth Wells, Powys, Wales
The pilot and passenger took off at about 9.46 hrs from Arclid Airfield, Cheshire to fly to Swansea Airport.  At about 10.58 the aircraft was seen to pitch steeply nose-up, enter a steep spinning-type descent and then strike the ground killing the 55 year old pilot and his passenger.  Radar data showed that on two occasions during the flight it had been turning, descending to about 2,400 ft and climbing to 4,100 ft.  The left wing appeared to fold rearwards in the descent after a structural failure near the root of this wing, caused by upward bending of that wing beyond its design limits.  No pre-existing material defect, or significant design issue, was found.  At the time of the accident the weight of G-GARB was probably between 471 and 496 kg, at least 21 kg above the MTOW.  The CG would have been within limits.  The weather conditions on the day of the accident were reported as fine with light winds and occasional cloud. An aftercast from the Met Office reported that the wind at 2,000 ft amsl was estimated as 240° at 10 kt. The pilot of the motorglider which flew through the area 20 minutes after the accident reported that any cloud present was above 2,500 ft and that the conditions for flying were fine with only light thermal activity. The left wing failure was therefore probably the result of a high aerodynamic load, in excess of the 4g limit load, probably closer to and possibly exceeding 6g. It is most likely to have occurred as a result of an attempted recovery from an inadvertent manoeuvre inducing the structural overload.  One possibility for generating high structural loads would be embarking on planned or impromptu aerobatic manoeuvres.  However, this did not match the perceived profile of the pilot, especially in the view of the flight instructor who knew him, cannot be entirely discounted, but it appears highly unlikely.  The cause of the manoeuvre could not be identified, but could have been due to inadvertent trim operation as there is a potential for the pitch-trim lever between the seats  to be moved rapidly full-range by accident.  There are other microlight aircraft that have pitch trim levers but the LAA and BMAA were not aware of any other that had a pitch trim lever located as on the EV-97.  There have been occasions of inadvertent operation of the trim lever on the EV-97 and the flight evaluation revealed the potential for this causing a significant upset, for which a Safety Recommendation has been made.  The pilot had flown 316 hours, all on type.  (AAIB Bulletin 2/2018).

9 June             
Icarus C42 FB:  G-OJDS - Nr Cushendun, Northern Ireland
The three axis high winged microlight took off with two on board at 10.45 hrs from the City of Derry Airport, Northern Ireland for a flight to Kirkbride aerodrome Cumbria, approx 9.5 nm west of Carlisle.  The weather was wind from 030 deg at 4 kts varying between 350 and 070, visibility 7 km with fog in the vicinity of the aerodrome, FEW clouds at 400 ft agl and SC at 800 ft and broken at 2,300 ft.  Another aircraft, G-CDUS a Skyranger 912S, with the same destination and route had taken off one minute earlier but they did not plan to fly in formation.   At 10.58 hrs the pilot reported his altitude as 1,200 ft and was descending to maintain VMC.  At 11.03 the pilot of a commercial flight in contact with Scottish ATC reported an aircraft with callsign GJS was trying to make contact with Scottish ATC, who could not hear the transmission.  The last time the pilot of G-CDUS recalled seeing the Ikarus was at 11.28 in the vicinity of Cushendun when the visibility was approx 3 to 5 km in haze with a poorly defined horizon and fog over the sea, so he climbed above the haze which extended to approx 2,000 ft amsl. The Ikarus was reported missing at approx 19.00 hrs when the pilot of G-CDUS phoned City of Derry Airport to find out if the Ikarus had in fact returned.  The following day at 13.42 sections of the Ikarus rear fuselage were spotted floating in the sea 6.9 nm south of Cushendun  Examination of the wreckage confirmed that it had struck the sea with significant force,  However, in view of the lack of evidence the cause could not be determined. It is not stated whether the occupants were wearing lifejackets or survival suits or whether the bodies have been recovered.  The 68 year old pilot’s hours are not known.  (AAIB Bulletin 1/2017).   

30 May     
Rans S6-ESD (Modified) Coyote II: G-MYES - Nr Shifnal Airfield, Salop

The aircraft was manoeuvring in the circuit at Shifnal having flown there from its base near Market Drayton.  While appearing to reposition for an approach to land on runway 28 the aircraft was seen to stall and possibly enter a spin.  It did not recover before crashing in a field in a 70 to 80 degree nose down attitude to the east of the airfield killing both occupants.  The airfield is strictly PPR for visiting pilots and he would have been advised that the wind was reported to be from the north favouring runway 36 however the landing T indicated runway 28.  There was no record that the pilot had attempted to obtain PPR.  He had visited Shifnal on four previous occasions and on three of them runway 28 had been in use.   The 64 year old pilot had obtained his NPPL in December 2013 after accruing 76 hours and had at the time of the accident a total of 185 hours, on three axis microlights. He had purchased the Rans in April 2016 and the previous owner had twice flown with him reportedly intervened on two occasions when he became concerned about the airspeed on the final approach.  Since 1994 the AAIB have investigated 16 accidents to Rans S6 aircraft involving stall and/or spins there currently being 161 on the UK register.  This aspect is under investigation by the Light Aircraft Association.  The pilot had flown 8 hours on type.  (AAIB Bulletin 7/2017). 

20 March
           
Ikarus C42 FB100: G-CDNR - Stoke Airfield, Nr Middle Stoke, Kent
The pilot had qualified in August 2013 on weight-shift microlights and decided in 2015 to convert to three axis.  He soloed in an Ikarus on 1 February 2015 after 13.75 hours training.  On 20th March 2016 he decided to continue and in the morning made two training flights and was a ‘little rusty’.   A third training flight was made and the pilot was happy to go solo.  The Instructor saw the aircraft become airborne from the 400 metre long runway and climb quickly reaching a very nose high attitude which he described as ‘hanging on the prop’.  The aircraft drifted to the left before dropping a wing, stalling and descending striking a set of high tension power cables.  There was bright flash and it fell to the ground.. The instructor and other club members ran to the site and attempted to extinguish the post crash fire with hand held extinguishers. The pilot had sustained fatal injuries.  The 2,420 hour aircraft had come to rest in an inverted attitude and was burnt out.  Examination of the wreckage revealed cracks in a fuselage tube and in the A-strut which resulted in a CAA Emergency Mandatory Permit Directive issued on 28th June 2016.   On the accident flight the take off weight was calculated to be 362 kg compared with the maximum permitted of 450 kg.  Flight tests were conducted under similar conditions to assess the aircrafts handling qualities.  The 61 year old pilot had flown a total of 117 hrs with 17 on type.  (AAIB Bulletin 5/207)

 

 
GLIDERS  


4 Dec             
Schleicher ASW 24: G-CFNG - Brentor Airfield, Nr Tavistock, Devon
During a winch launch in turbulent conditions the weak link parted at about 120 ft aal the glider climbed to about 250 ft aal.  Although there was sufficient distance available to land directly ahead the pilot attempted to fly a circuit to land near the launch point but the glider encountered significant sink and had insufficient energy to complete the intended circuit. The pilot sustained fatal injuries in the impact with the ground. The 47 year old pilot had flown approx 1,500 glider hours with approx 130 in the last 12 months.  (AAIB Bulletin 2/2018).

27 August

LAK-17A Glider:  G-CKK - Nr Sauto, France (between Andorra and Perpignan)
The glider took off from La Cerdanya airfield, Spain and while on a cross country flew into a valley, during a turn it collided with high tension power cables and crashed in a field. killing the pilot. Source ASN, BEA Report not yet available).   

21
July  
Schleicher ASW27-18E: G-VLCC- Moundsmere, Nr Basingstoke, Hants

Following an aerotow Launch from Lasham, there was a period of soaring flight before the pilot apparently for practice as pre-planned started the glider’s sustainer engine.  Shortly afterwards the glider was seen descending steeply toward the ground, which it struck at a speed in excess of 100 kts, killing the pilot.  There was no evidence of any technical failure.  The 60 year old was an experienced glider pilot with 1,800 hrs, 3 on type and seemed fit and well before the flight. However, it is possible that she became was incapacitated during the latter stages of flight.  The pathologist could not rule out the possibility that she might have lost consciousness, as a result of a cardiac problem, having a family history and reports of heart palpitations about two weeks prior to the flight.  (AAIB Bulletin 4/2017).


HELICOPTERS

5 September
Robinson R-22 Beta: G-SPEE - Nr Origny le Sec, S.E. of Chatres, France                 
The pilot took off from the Moret-Episy, SE of Fontainebleau, aerodrome at about 21.10 hrs for a VFR night flight to Reims-Prunay.  At 21.48 the FIR controller contacted him asking his estimated time of arrival in Reims. The pilot states about 22.30 and that he was having a problem with the weather and might divert to Chalons-Vatry.  At 21:52, radar contact was lost when the helicopter had just turned more than 360 ° at a height of about 1500 feet.  Shortly after the helicopter collided with the ground.   The helicopter had struck the ground at an angle of 30 deg,   Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any technical failure prior to collision of the aircraft with the ground.  The pilot had held a PPL(H) since 2014 with a total of 63 hours, his last flight was in October 2015.  There was no mention of night training in his logbook.  He had held an aeroplane licence since 2011with a total of 212 hours with 98 in command, and a Night Rating dated March 2011 with 16 hours night including 10 in command.  The flight had been intended to start in daylight and finish at night, but the road journey from Reims had taken longer than expected. The car driver was concerned about the weather conditions encountered on the road.  A witness on the airfield tried to dissuade the pilot from flying and offered him hospitality.  The aerodrome of Moret-Episy is not approved for night VFR.  The Report concluded that the pilot was not qualified to fly VFR at night in a helicopter and had not flown one for ten months.  A study of the meteorological situation at the time of the flight decision, made it possible to anticipate the deterioration flight conditions encountered by the pilot.  The accident is due to the pilot to taking off at night, despite his lack of experience or qualifications, from an unauthorized aerodrome, incompatible with weather conditions for a VFR night flight. The pilot lost visual references and collided with the ground.  (BEA Report 2016-0551, Dec 2017, via Google Translate)


 
17 July         
Sud Aviation SE-313B Alouette II: HA-PPC - Breighton Aerodrome, Yorks

The Hungarian registered helicopter flew along the runway at about 30 ft agl and carried out a quick stop. Witnesses reported a nose-up pitch attitude of around 45° was attained as the helicopter flared, then, as it levelled, the rotor blades struck the tail boom. The helicopter rotated to the right through 180° and dropped vertically to the ground. Everyone on board was taken to hospital; the pilot died subsequently.  No technical failure was found which could explain the accident.   The helicopter was close to or above the MAUW of 1,588 kg (3,500 lb) and the CG was towards the forward limit of the allowable range detailed in the Flight Manual, thus the margin of clearance of the rotor disc from the tail boom in flight may have been reduced, increasing the risk of the disc striking the tail boom. Although not a factor in the accident, the engine manufacturer could find no records that the overhaul had been carried out by one of their approved organisations.  No safety briefing had been given, which is a required part of every flight giving the pilot an opportunity to advise the passengers of features specific to the aircraft type and indicate the emergency escape procedures. The absence of a briefing did not affect the outcome..  The 36 year old pilot had an EASA and Hungarian PPL(H) having obtained a PPL(H) in 2002 and had a total of 708 hrs with more than 164 on type. (AAIB Bulletin 7/2017).


GYROPLANES

28 July
Rotorsport UK MT-03: G-MEPU - Turweston Aerodrome, Bucks
The 79 year old pilot was an experienced fixed-wing private pilot who had qualified in 1999 with 1,650 hours and was nearing the end of a gyroplane course with 41 hrs on type.  He was due to take his GFT the following week and had made a previous solo flight that day.  He took of intending to refine his technique in low approaches and go-arounds.  He was seen to initiate a go-around and transmitted ‘going around’ on the radio.  The gyroplane was seen to accelerate at low height until it reached climbing speed and started to climb away.  At a height estimated to be 100 ft, without warning it rolled to one side and dived into the ground impacting on the asphalt runway surface killing the pilot.  On 2nd February 2016 the pilot had been examined by an AME, including an ECG, for a Class Two Medical Certificate which was duly issued.  The post mortem concluded the pilot had died from a combination of injuries sustained in the accident but he was found to be suffering from severe and extensive coronary artery atherosclerosis.  It was concluded that the accident was most probably the result of sudden medical incapacitation such that the pilot’s capacity to pilot the aircraft was either
removed or severely degraded.  (AAIB Bulletin 4/2017). 



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