Plane crash

A 60-YEAR-OLD pilot crashed into the side of a north Essex runway after his plane's wheels got caught in the tops of a rape crop, an official report revealed today.

A 60-YEAR-OLD pilot crashed into the side of a north Essex runway after his plane's wheels got caught in the tops of a rape crop, an official report revealed today.

The plane crashed at Great Oakley Airfield on July 2 this year, leaving the aircraft destroyed. The pilot managed to escape the wreckage without injury.

An accident report by the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) has now been released, shedding new light on the cause of the crash.

The pilot, who held a private pilot's licence and boasted 1,400 hours of flying experience, was planning to embark on a local flight in a Tucker DG Taylor Titch aeroplane on the day of the crash.


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His plane unexpectedly became airborne whilst the pilot was preparing for take-off, the report said, which could have been caused by a sudden gust of wind.

The pilot, who was flying alone, then tried to raise the tail of the plane in a bid to correct the plane so he could see straight ahead.

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By this stage, the report revealed, the plane drifted to the left of the runway and the pilot became unable to control the piston-engined aeroplane.

Flying at less than 45mph, the aircraft drifted just 5ft above the ground before catching the tops of a rape crop to the side of the runway. The plane then plunged nose first into the crop and flipped over.

The pilot, who had been wearing both a lap and diagonal harness, escaped by clambering out of the left-hand side, where the fuselage had been destroyed.

The AAIB's report is based on a detailed account of events according to the pilot.

Great Oakley Airfield has two unlicensed runways, one which is 600m long and another that is 900m long.

The AAIB investigates the causes of air accidents before making any recommendations for safety improvements to the Civil Aviation Authority.

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