Stowmarket pilot and passenger escape plane crash uninjured

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An aircraft passenger’s lack of flying experience could have contributed to a crash last year, a report into the incident has revealed.

Pilot William Scott, of Brockford Green, Stowmarket, and his passenger managed to escape injury after their microlight plane crash-landed at an airfield near Norwich last year.

It happened on the afternoon of August 24 as the 1996 built Rans Coyote, owned by Mr Scott, came in to land at an airstrip around 13 miles south of Norwich.

An Air Accident Investigation Branch report into the incident says the aircraft became ‘low and slow’ on its final landing approach and a decision was taken to abort the landing and go around.

It appeared to stall and rolled to the right and, although it recovered from the stall, it hit a small tree.

Its propeller, engine cowling, nose undercarriage leg, wing struts and leading edges were damaged in the crash, which may have also caused serious damage to the engine.

Mr Scott, 52, who had 164 hours flying experience, had flown part of the trip with another qualified pilot as his passenger was obtaining flight data.

One of the reasons for the trip had been to assess stall performance of the plane and the passenger flew the dual control aircraft as it came into land.

The report says: “The pilot advised his passenger that the aircraft had a tendency to float during landing, and recommended an approach speed of 50 to 60 mph.

“The passenger flew the approach at the higher speed initially, but the aircraft became low on approach.

“He applied power and reduced speed to about 50 mph but, with the aircraft’s nose raised, the passenger lost sight of the airstrip. “He applied more power but still felt that the aircraft was undershooting so, at about 50 ft, he initiated a go-around, noticing a speed of 42 mph.

“The aircraft pitched up and then rolled to the right. Recovery from the apparent stall occurred almost immediately and with minimal height loss, but the manoeuvre left the aircraft heading towards a small tree to the right of the runway threshold.

“There was insufficient room to steer around it and the aircraft’s right wing root collided with the tree, about 10 ft above ground level.

“The aircraft came to rest at the base of the tree. Both occupants were wearing full harnesses and were uninjured.”

According to the report, the passenger considered his lack of experience on the type of aircraft had contributed to the accident.

It says Mr Scott did not intervene before the situation became irrecoverable because he had been reassured by his passenger’s competent aircraft handling beforehand.