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Pilot injured after microlight came apart mid-air

PUBLISHED: 11:30 12 June 2020

A microlight pilot crashed his aircraft at Mendlesham Airfield after it's strut came apart mid-air, a report has found  (FILE PHOTO)  Picture: SEAN DEMPSEY/PA

A microlight pilot crashed his aircraft at Mendlesham Airfield after it's strut came apart mid-air, a report has found (FILE PHOTO) Picture: SEAN DEMPSEY/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A pilot was forced to make a crash landing into a field after his microlight came apart mid-air, a report has found.

A pilot was forced to make a crash landing into a field after his microlight came apart mid-air, a report has found.

The crash landing happened at Mendlesham Airfield on July 4 last year, when the 56-year-old pilot took off from the runway and realised the aircraft’s front strut had separated from the forward mounting point.

The pilot had rigged the aircraft for the first time the day before, having not owned the aircraft for long – according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch report – and had sought advice from a friend before getting the thumbs up to fly.

A local hang gliding club had been flying at the airfield, formerly used by the Royal Air Force and US Air Force, on the day of the crash and had come to an agreement with the pilot to allow him to use the right side of the runway to avoid parked gliders.

But the pilot knew something was wrong immediately after taking off. Realising the structural integrity of his Chaser S 447 aircraft was now “severely compromised” he decided to attempt an emergency landing.

With not much height, he could not make it back to the runway and instead came down among nearby crops, causing “extensive” damage to the landing gear and body. The pilot was also injured in the crash.

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The report reads: “Aware that the structural integrity of the aircraft was now severely compromised, the pilot attempted an immediate landing.

“Given the low altitude, he was unable to return to the runway and the aircraft struck crops to the right of the landing surface,”

The report also highlighted the quick-thinking of the local hang glider club who rushed to his aid.

An air ambulance was later called.

The report added:“The hang glider pilots ran to the accident site to offer help, but by the time they arrived the pilot had vacated the aircraft.

“An air ambulance attended the scene, but the pilot’s injuries were not sufficiently serious to warrant his transfer to hospital by air. He was taken to hospital by ground ambulance and treated for minor injuries.”

An investigation into the crash, published this week, found the cause of the crash to be down to the strut not being properly secured – with “aerodynamic forces of the wing” causing the strut to separate.


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