Grandfather died in air-crash accident, court told

A GRANDFATHER died while trying to crash land a single-seat aircraft which he had “lovingly” built by hand, an inquest has heard.

Retired aircraft engineer Cecil Bush, 69, of Great Holland was forced to attempt an emergency landing manoeuvre when his engine lost power shortly after takeoff from Great Oakley Airfield in Harwich.

The pilot died of head and chest injuries on the day of the accident, the 27 June 2009, a Chelmsford inquest heard yesterday.

His son, Russell, said: “He was a kind, caring, considerate, supportive and sensitive family man who had a life-long love of all things to do with aviation.

“Flying was his passion and he was enjoying retirement to the full.”


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Mr Bush, who was an experienced and qualified pilot with no health problems, leaves behind his wife, Pam, two children and three grandchildren.

Giving evidence Kenneth Fairbank, of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, said: “From eye witness accounts we know that the aircraft appeared to have some kind of power difficulty.

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“It was making a left-hand turn at low height when the pilot appeared to lose control at about 100 to 150ft. After that the aircraft came down very quickly.”

The aircraft that Mr Bush was flying was a light-weight Taylor Monoplane which he had bought as a kit and was powered by a small Volkswagen engine. This was the second plane he had built.

Mr Fairbank said that from the evidence it looked as though the pilot had made the decision to turn back to the airfield when he lost some, or all, of the power to his engine.

It was while completing this “difficult” manoeuvre that he lost control and had “insufficient height to recover”.

The inquest heard that it was likely that the plane had “stalled”, meaning that it slowed to such a speed that it became aerodynamically unstable.

“The general advice to pilots in single-engine aircraft with low power is to always land ahead because this is a dangerous manoeuvre at low level,” said Mr Fairbank.

Air-crash investigator, Adrian Cope, said that there had been various problems with the engine dating back to September 2008 when it was first built and that an inspector from the Light Aircraft Association was due to look at the plane on the afternoon of the crash.

Russell Bush said: “We don’t know he was going out flying and we don’t know why he took off that day when he knew he had engine problems.”

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said it was clear that Mr Bush was an aircraft enthusiast who had “lovingly built his plane over a period of time”.

She recorded that Cecil James Bush “died as a result of an accident”.

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