April 2017 AAIB Bulletin
There are two
sad reports where it seems likely that medical incapacitation led to fatal
accidents: together they raise the perennial issue of the practical value of
aeromedical examinations. One aircraft
was a Rotorsport UK MT-03 gyroplane with a 79 year old male pilot and the other
was an ASW 27-18E glider with a 60 year old female pilot. Fortunately there
were no passengers or others involved in either case. These days solo glider
pilots meet their medical requirements if they hold a current driving licence
and I presume that the argument goes that if the authorities believe that you
do not represent a material risk to the public if you drive a ton or more of
motor car in close proximity to other vehicles and pedestrians then you should
reasonably be able to take a solo glider into the skies. The likelihood of
causing death or injury to others with the car is, of course, far greater than
the likelihood of doing so in the glider. In the case of the glider pilot there
was some family history of cardiac trouble and the pilot had expressed some
slight concerns about her health to a friend some 13 days before. Thus the
possibility of cardiac trouble being the cause of the accident receives more
attention than any other likely cause. Other possibilities are considered at
length but with no positive conclusions.
On the other hand the conclusion of the report on the death of the gyrocopter pilot is that the accident was most probably the result of a sudden medical incapacitation of the pilot. It is ironic that this pilot held a Class 2 medical certificate granted only five months previously and that the Aeromedical Examination had included an Electrocardiogram. This accident suggests once more that the aeromedical examination is a rather porous system. Fortunately fatal GA accidents that are the result of medical incapacitation of the pilot are very rare and those that lead to death or serious injury to others are extremely rare. GASCo extends its sympathy to the families and friends of the two pilots.
The other Field Investigation Report in this bulletin concerns a Piper Cub that got caught in a wake vortex system from a helicopter which had hover-taxied across the runway approximately two minutes earlier. While taking off the pilot was unable to correct the roll induced by the vortex system before the aircraft struck the ground. He suffered minor injuries and the aircraft was destroyed. The report refers to Safety Sense Leaflet 15c. When following a helicopter, pilots of light aircraft should consider allowing a greater spacing than they would behind a fixed wing aircraft of similar size, especially if the helicopter has been hovering.
There is a Correspondence Investigation Report in the Commercial Air Transport section of a Socata TBM 700N with a 79 year old PPL pilot with 5272 hours (1585 on type and 5 in the past 28 days). In visibility of 4500 m the pilot commenced the final turn from a relatively close downwind leg, requiring a higher angle of bank than usual to complete. In the latter stages of the turn, with flaps at the takeoff setting, the bank angle was increased and there was a sudden and rapid departure from controlled flight that was consistent with a stall. The pilot’s next recollection was of being in a bank away from the final approach path and seeing only sky ahead. Your editor’s observation, not the AAIB report’s, is that many pilots at this point would instinctively pull back on the yoke to avoid the impending collision with the ground. This pilot, however, had the presence of mind to push forward, regain a modicum of control and eventually hit the ground with wings level, coming to a stop within 85 m. The pilot suffered major injuries and the passenger minor injuries. Had the pilot pulled back at the crucial moment, as so many seem to do, the outcome would very probably have been two fatalities.
Of the remaining Correspondence Investigation Reports, 4 are landing accidents, one involving gear failure, 3 are forced landings, one being the result of a canopy coming unlatched, and there are one each of damage suffered during aerobatics, one take off accident and one taxying accident following gear failure.
|15 Jan 2017||G-ATMT||Piper PA-30||Fatal accident at Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire||Under Investigation|
|04 Dec 2016||G-CLJK/G-CSFC||SZD-51-1 Glider/Cessna 150L||Fatal accident after mid-air||Under Investigation|
|04 Dec 2016||G-CFNG||Schleicher ASW 24||Fatal accident at Dartmoor||Under Investigation|
|17 Oct 2016||G-BDZC||Reims Cessna F150M||Fatal accident at Bourn Airfield, Cambridgeshire||Under Investigation|
|02 Oct 2016||G-MSTG||North American P-51D Mustang||Fatal accident near Hardwick Airfield, Suffolk||Under Investigation|
|18 Sep 2016||G-GARB||EV-97 Team Eurostar||Fatal accident near Builth Wells, Wales||Under Investigation|
|15 Sep 2016||G-LFIX||Spitfire IXT||landing gear collapse on landing at Sywell Aerodrome, Northamptonshire||Under Investigation|
|14 Aug 2016||G-ARNZ||Druine D.31 Turbulent||Aircraft ditched in the sea during airshow near Herne Bay, Kent||Under Investigation|
|02 Aug 2016||G-ETDK||Breezer B600E||Loss of control at Lochnell Castle, Oban, Argyll||Consultation stage|
|19 Jul 2016||G-SCIP||Socata TB20||Nosewheel collapse on landing at Sleap Airfield, Shropshire||Scheduled for Publication - AAIB Bulletin 5/2017|
|17 Jul 2016||HA-PPC||Sud SA-313B Alouette II||Fatal accident at Breighton Aerodrome, Yorkshire||Consultation stage|
|08 July 2016||G-YAKB||Yak-52||Fatal accident near Dinton, Wiltshire||Under investigation|
|30 May 2016||G-MYES||Rans S6-ESD (modified)||Fatal accident near Shifnal Aerodrome, Shropshire||Under investigation|
|30 Apr 2016||G-BNSO||Slingsby T67N MKII||Fatal accident at Whitwell Grange Cottage, Whitwell, North Yorkshire||Scheduled for Publication - AAIB Bulletin 5/2017|
|20 March 2016||G-CDNR||Ikarus C42 FB100||Fatal accident at Burrows Lane, Middle Stoke, Kent||Scheduled for Publication - AAIB Bulletin 5/2017|