Pilot admits lack of experience 'played a role' in Whittlesey plane crash

A pilot has admitted a lack of experience 'played a role' in a plane crash in Whittlesey.

After a short, uneventful flight from an airstrip near Alconbury to Wallis International Airstrip near Whittlesey things went dramatically wrong for the pilot of a light aircraft on June 9 this year.

As it landed the tiny aircraft bounced back into the air, came back to earth again veered off the runway hitting concrete posts and barbed wire and ending up in a water filled dyke.

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The pilot and passenger escaped unhurt despite serious damage to the plane. Now, in a newly published air crash report the pilot has admitted that lack of experience landing on a farm strip which had obstacles had played a role in what happened.

The 2005 built Pioneer 300 – reg G CDSD – owned by Rebecca Eve Rayner of Glebe Farm, School Lane, Kings Ripton, had made the short flight on the morning of 9 June this year and the crash landing happened at the end of the third landing run.

Initially the pilot carried out a dummy landing approach to check the runway. On the second approach the landing had to be aborted to make way for other aircraft and it was on the third attempt that the crash happened.

The Air Accident Branch report says the 49-year-old pilot had 131 hours flying experience and the flight to Wallis International had been “uneventful.”

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But it continues: “The need to ensure a safe margin over the trees caused the aircraft to touch down approximately half-way along the 770 m grass strip where it went over a bump, causing it to bounce and land back on the left side of the runway.

“The pilot applied the wheel brakes but the left wing became caught in long grass and the aircraft yawed to the left, veering off the runway and striking several concrete posts and barbed wire fencing. It dropped into a water filled dyke on the north side of the runway and the canopy detached, with the aircraft remaining upright. The pilot and passenger were uninjured and were able to vacate the aircraft unassisted.”

Turning to the pilots view of what happened it says: “The pilot considered that a lack of experience of landing on a farm strip with obstacles, such as the trees close to the threshold, had caused the aircraft to touch down further into the runway than expected. Encountering the bump in the runway surface and touching down close to the left edge of the runway led to the left wing entering the long grass.”

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