14 Nov

Just Escapade:   G-CGNV:    Breighton Airfield, Nr. Selby, North Yorkshire
AAIB Summary: At an early stage in the take-off G-CGNV’s pilot reported a problem with his seat. Eyewitnesses saw the aircraft climbing in an unusual attitude. Shortly after the aircraft lifted off it had significant left bank and was yawing and drifting to the right. At approximately 180 ft agl, the aircraft rolled left and departed from controlled flight, descended steeply, and struck the runway abeam the control tower. The aircraft sustained major disruption and the pilot was fatally injured.
The pilot flew with his seat set fully forward but the seat was at its rearmost position when the aircraft struck the ground. The evidence indicated that, due to misalignment, the seat adjustment pin had not been correctly located in one of the holes in the adjustment rail and therefore the seat had not been securely locked in the fully forward position. The seat adjuster backup strap, intended to prevent rearwards seat movement in case of pin failure, was not tightened. The exact cause of the misalignment of the seat pin and adjuster rail is not known.  The investigation considered it most likely that the accident resulted from the pilot’s seat sliding backward, thereby compromising his ability to maintain effective control of the aircraft.  Three Safety Recommendations were made in AAIB Special Bulletin S3/2021, published on 14 December 2021.  The 66 year old pilot held a PPL with a total of 945 hours and 4 on type.  (AAIB Bulletin 10/2022).

10 September

Cessna 172S:     G-CFIO:    Ruckinge, Kent                      
At 09.58 hrs on 10 September 2021, without permission from the operator or clearance from the air traffic radio operator, a student pilot took off from Rochester Airport in G-CFIO. The aircraft was later observed to enter a steep descent to the left before it struck the ground in a field adjacent to Tar Pot Lane near Ruckinge in Kent. The pilot did not survive the accident.  Immediately prior to taking off, the pilot had reported over the aircraft radio that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and indicated that he intended to deliberately crash the aircraft. The pilot had not declared his diagnosis to the doctor who issued his aviation medical certificate.  The 67 year old Student pilot had flown a total of 74 hours, all on type. (AAIB Bulletin 4/2022)

12 August       

Mudry Cap 10B:    G-BXBU:                  Buckland St Mary, Somerset
AAIB Summary: The pilot found himself stuck above cloud during a cross-country flight under Visual Flight Rules. After contacting the Distress & Diversion Cell for assistance he was transferred to the radar frequency of a nearby airport, at which the cloud base was below the minimum required for the approach offered. The pilot, who was not qualified to fly in cloud, lost control of the aircraft during the subsequent descent and the aircraft was destroyed when it hit a tree. Both occupants were fatally injured.
The investigation found that air traffic service providers did not obtain or exchange sufficient information about the aircraft and its pilot to enable adequate assistance to be provided. There was an absence of active decision making by those providers, and uncertainty between units about their respective roles and responsibilities.  Seven Safety Recommendations are made to address shortcomings identified in the provision of air traffic services in an emergency.  The 69 year old pilot held a PPL had flown 1,411 hours with 648 on type.  (AAIB Bulletin 6/2023).

30 June

Rogers Sky Prince (Jodel150):         G-CJZU:                     Goodwood Aerodrome, West Sussex
AAIB Summary: After takeoff the engine (Continental O-200-A) in G-CJZU suffered a partial power loss. This power loss became more significant as the aircraft reached 300 ft aal. The aircraft had little natural stall warning and was not fitted with an artificial stall warning device. A safe flying speed was not maintained, and the aircraft departed from controlled flight at a height from which it was not possible to recover. The aircraft descended steeply and struck the ground nose first. The accident was not survivable.  Examination of the engine could not find any faults that could have caused or contributed to the loss of power. The aircraft had sufficient fuel for the flight. Insufficient supply of fuel to the engine from the tanks could have caused the power reduction but the damage to the aircraft meant that it was not possible to establish the condition of the fuel system or level of fuel supply. It is also possible that a fault in the ignition system could have contributed to the power reduction, but the damage from the post impact fire meant that the integrity of the electrical system could not be fully assessed. Weather conditions were also conducive to carburettor ice forming on the taxi out to the runway. It is possible that carburettor ice formation caused the engine to lose power after takeoff.  The 65 year old pilot held a PPL and had flown 706 hrs with 16 on type).
Whilst the investigation of G-CJZU was in progress, a further event involving partial power occurred in which the three occupants of the aircraft were seriously injured. The aircraft suffered a partial loss of engine power shortly after takeoff and the pilot attempted a turnback to land on the reciprocal runway. The aircraft stalled during the turn and struck the ground west of the runway. Three Safety Recommendations were made in that report with respect to pilot training for partial power loss events. These Safety Recommendations, whilst not a part of this report, were formed on the basis of information from both accidents and are supported by the events described here.  (AAIB Bulletin 6/2023). 

 9 May  

Stampe SV4C: G-AWEF:  Nr Headcorn Airfield, Ashford, Kent
AAIB Summary: The aircraft was taking part in a formation display practice with three other similar aircraft. Whilst practicing a new manoeuvre involving a synchronised line abreast stall turn, G-AWEF was seen to enter a spin. The aircraft did not fully recover from the spin before striking the ground fatally injuring the pilot.  No evidence was found of any pre-existing fault or damage to the aircraft which could have caused the spin or prevented the aircraft from recovering from the spin.  Flight tests conducted during the investigation showed that the most likely reason the aircraft entered a spin was that either too much aft stick was applied before the yawing turn was complete or that the rudder was not centralised when the pull-out was commenced. The investigation identified several reasons why this may have occurred.  The investigation highlighted the importance of obtaining guidance and mentoring from an experienced display authorisation evaluator when upgrading a display authorisation.  Incipient and developed spin recovery techniques vary between aircraft and may be different to those discussed in this report. The 57 year old pilot held a PPL with 753 hours and 517 on type. (AAIB Bulletin 2/2022).