Monday, October 1, 2012

Microlight crash pilot determined to return to the skies

DEFIANT pilot Gordon Wilson today vowed to return to the skies just days after his microlight crashed to earth from 40ft.

Mr Wilson emerged unscathed despite being trapped in the crumpled wreckage of his £7,000 aircraft after it fell to earth during the Great North Fly In at Eshott Airfield on Saturday.
 

The 50-year-old dad-of-two – who has more than a decade’s experience in the cockpit – was airlifted to hospital following the crash in front of hundreds of flight fans.

But while his passenger, a 30-year-old woman, suffered a broken arm, Ms Wilson suffered just cuts and bruises.

Gordon, who lives with wife Yvonne, 51, a teaching assistant, in Appletree Drive, Prudhoe, Northumberland, said: “I was coming in to land and there was a helicopter in front of me. I flew into the turbulence and it destroyed the lift. I just dropped out of the sky from about 40ft in the air.

“It was just totally out of control and with the speed being so fast we just hit the floor. There was nothing I could do.”

Gordon, who has two sons, Gavin, 25, and Benjamin, 20, was training a 30-year-old female passenger at around 1.45pm on Saturday.

But as the pair came into land the flexwing microlight was thrown into a spin by the air currents from a helicopter that had just landed. The aircraft was a write-off after it slammed into the ground and was left a twisted wreck.

Gordon said: “We were out for a lesson, the lady had around 14 hours of flying experience built up and she hadn’t flown for a while, so we were having a lesson to familiarise her with the aircraft again.

“The take-off and flight was fine, but when I went to land the plane at Eshott there was a helicopter near the runway and I got caught in the wake turbulence, it lifted the wing of our aircraft and we plunged about 60 to 70ft down and tipped over.

“I just got too close to it. I didn’t leave enough room between our plane and the helicopter. It was a scary experience. It hasn’t put me off flying again, but I’ll need a few days off.”

Following the crash, the Air Accident Investigation Branch confirmed they were carrying out an investigation to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the crash.

Fire crews and ambulance paramedics attended the scene after the crash and a Great North Air Ambulance helicopter was scrambled to the scene to treat the injured.

Mr Wilson, an IT trainer at a computer company in Wallsend, North Tyneside, said he was unfazed by the experience and he would continue to take to the skies above Northumberland.

He said: “We were trapped in the wreckage and I was immobilised and airlifted to the RVI. I was training a passenger at the time and she suffered a broken arm.

“I’m fine now but I was a little bit shaken at the time. I keep replaying it in my mind. I got some bruising down my right hand side to my ribs. I was scanned and given an ultrasound but everything was fine.

“It’s a high-energy sport and you have to expect this sort of things but you learn from your mistakes.”

Mr Wilson spent 16 years in the Army training recruits but during a diving exercise in Cyprus, he suffered decompression sickness which meant he was no longer able to continue as a diver.

Read More http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk

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