Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Zenair CH 601HD Zodiac, G-BVAC: Pilot's error may have led to plane crash at Gloucestershire Airport

The pilot of a light aircraft which crash-landed at Gloucestershire Airport shortly after take-off earlier this year has admitted he may have caused the problem that led the incident.

Almost immediately after the plane had taken off the pilot found himself wrestling to hold the cockpit canopy in place after it came loose, he told the official inquiry into the crash.

Now, an Air Accident Investigation Branch report into the incident says the pilot admitted he may have "left the canopy in the 'half latch' position prior to take off".

The 48-year-old pilot, who had 587 hours' flying experience, and his passenger in the 1995 Zenair Zodiac walked away from the incident on August 22 unhurt.

The pilot told the official inquiry that he had planned a short flight from the airport at Staverton to Oaksey Park, near Cirencester.

As the plane took off the canopy started to lift.

The pilot grabbed the canopy cord with his right hand to prevent it coming further undone.

He then looked to his passenger and asked him to hold the cord.

The pilot's left hand was holding the control column.

At that point, his attention was diverted and the aircraft entered a shallow dive and crashed into the runway. The nose gear collapsed, and the propeller disintegrated on impact with the runway.
The pilot said he was unable to close the throttle as both hands were occupied and he did not want to let the canopy break off as the plane could not fly without it.

The plane was owned by Stephen Wisedale of Walton Cardiff, Tewkesbury, and Jeffrey Alan Tyndall of Cam, near Dursley.



During takeoff, the cockpit canopy became unlatched and started to lift. The pilot grabbed the canopy pull cord to prevent it lifting further, but the aircraft entered a shallow dive, resulting in the nose and right hand landing gears striking the runway. The nose gear collapsed and the propeller disintegrated after striking the ground.