Thursday, June 05, 2014

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BODP, Flintshire Flying School: Accident occurred August 16, 2012 in Bruera, Cheshire, UK

Karl Hendrickson (student pilot) and John Green (flight instructor)

Flintshire: Air crash deaths may have been caused by failed stall  

A failed stalling exercise may have  been responsible for a light aircraft  “nose-diving” into a field killing two   men.

The opening day of an inquest  heard  how John Green, 50, an experienced  pilot with Flintshire Flying School from Caergwrle, and  his student Karl Hendrickson, 43, from  Mold, died when their Piper PA-38-112  Tomahawk plummeted to the ground.

It crashed in Bruera, near Chester, on  farmland owned by the Duke of Westminster just before 9pm on August 16,  2012.

Mr Hendrickson, an employee at Airbus in Broughton, was described by his  wife of 14 years Laura as a great lover of  planes and had begun flying lessons with  the school in May that year.

He was on his eighth lesson when the  accident occurred. Mr Green had been  his instructor in all of them.

An investigation carried out by the Air  Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)  revealed that the 31-year-old plane had  been in a spin when it hit the ground.

John McMillan, an investigator with  the AAIB, who spent  two days examining  the scene and wreckage, said that he was  confident that the aircraft was in a  rotation when it landed

He said that the plane and engine –  which was fitted new in March 2012 –  both appeared in good condition and it  had a sufficient amount of fuel.

The inquest heard how flying school  student logs showed Mr Hendrickson  had recently completed exercise 10a –  slow flight – which aims to familiarize a  student with characteristics of the aircraft close to stall. He was due to complete exercise 10b which teaches them  how to recover from a stall.

James Healy-Pratt, representing Mrs  Hendrickson, questioned the AAIB representatives over concerns raised by  American experts that carrying out such  exercises in a Tomahawk could result in  a spin.

Andrew Blackie, also with the AAIB,  said that recommendations had been  made that manoeuvres like these should  be carried out at a higher altitude but  that it was not known the exact altitude  or speed of the plane when it started to  rotate.

Earlier in the inquest, Mark Petrie,  owner of Flintshire Flying School, said  he had originally bought the plane for  his children to learn in.

He described it as a ‘purpose built  training aircraft’ which Mr Green was  very familiar with.

Mr Petrie also said that Mr Green  loved his job and was extremely popular  with his students.

It was pointed out that the aircraft did  have dual controls and that Mr Green,  who had more than 10,000 hours flying  experience, could have taken control at  any point.

The inquest continues.

Story and photo gallery:

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BODP 

Location: Near Bruera, Cheshire
Date of occurrence: 16 August 2012
General Aviation - Fixed Wing


The instructor and student were conducting PPL training for slow flight aircraft handling. At an estimated height of between 2,000 and 3,000 ft, the aircraft turned rapidly through about 180° and descended at a high rate, crashing in a field. The evidence indicated that the aircraft had been in a spin to the left when it struck the surface. Both occupants were fatally injured.

A manufacturer’s revision to the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH), dated May 2012, included advice on the altitudes at which slow flight and stall manoeuvres should be initiated, to provide an adequate margin of safety in the event of an inadvertent spin. This revision, which related to a Safety Recommendation made by the United States of America’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 1997, reached the flying school in the month following the accident.

 NTSB Identification: CEN12WA562 
Accident occurred Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Bruera, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration:
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 16, 2012, about 1940 universal coordinated time, a Piper PA-38-112 airplane, United Kingdom registration G-BODP, impacted terrain during an instructional flight near Bruera, Cheshire, United Kingdom. The flight instructor and student pilot were fatally injured. The local flight departed from Hawarden Airport (EGNR).

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). This report is for informational purposes only and contains information released by or obtained from the government of the United Kingdom.

Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Farnborough House
Berkshire Copse Road
Aldershot, Hampshire
GU11 2HH, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0) 1252 510300

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