A plane flown by an unqualified pilot bounced three times, hit a fence, crossed a road and crashed upside down after approaching Caernarfon Airport “too fast and too high”, an official report reveals.
The unqualified pilot, who had never flown that type of aircraft before, had flown from Blackpool to the Gwynedd airport, but his companion took control of the plane shortly before the crash.
While his companion was a qualified pilot, he was not a flight instructor, said the report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).
The single-engined Piper PA-38 Tomahawk aircraft bounced three times along the runway at Caernarfon before flying low and close to two hangars and a radio mast.
It hit the airfield perimeter fence and crossed a public road before crashing upside down in a field.
Neither the unqualified pilot nor his companion, who have not been named, were seriously hurt, but the two-seater aircraft was badly damaged.
Th unqualified pilot concluded the accident happened because the aircraft approached the runway “too fast and too high”.
The 46-year-old qualified pilot said he was aware his companion was not a qualified pilot so “should not have manipulated the controls without being supervised by a flight instructor”.
The accident happened at 1.15pm on May 12 this year when the aircraft was nearing the end of a flight from Blackpool Airport.
The AAIB were notified of the incident but did not investigate in the field. The report has been compiled from comments submitted by the qualified pilot, CCTV footage recorded at the airport, and further enquiries by AAIB staff.
It states: “The pilot in the right seat was not a flight instructor, while the occupant of the left seat was a senior work colleague and also a student pilot who was not qualified to fly without supervision from a flight instructor.
“Although the unqualified pilot had received no instruction on this aircraft type, he conducted the take-off from Blackpool Airport and flew the aircraft to Caernarfon with the pilot in command monitoring his actions and making radio calls.”
The report said the left hand seat occupant was in the process of learning to fly on another aircraft type and had logged 26 hours under instruction.
“At Caernarfon, the unqualified pilot manoeuvred the aircraft into the circuit in good visibility,” said the report.
“On final approach, the pilot in command suggested they were too high and the unqualified pilot acknowledged this but did not achieve the optimum approach path.
“The pilot in command stated that, shortly before touchdown, he intervened and took control of the aircraft and applied full power while informing the unqualified pilot they would go around, but he did not move the flap lever from the landing position.”
CCTV footage showed that the aircraft touched down approximately one third of the way along the runway but it bounced.
It then swung left, bouncing again twice before flying over the left edge of the runway in a nose-up and left wing-low attitude.
The report said: “The pilot in command realised the aircraft was not gaining altitude and saw a hangar ahead. He believed he turned the aircraft away from the hangar before it descended and hit the airfield perimeter fence.
“The CCTV indicated the aircraft climbed to approximately 20 feet above the ground and overflying a parallel taxiway. The aircraft then descended towards the ground passing close to two hangars.
“The aircraft then flew between the hangars and a radio mast, bounced on the grass and then struck the ground by the airfield perimeter fence.
“It then passed through the fence line, travelled across a public road and hit another fence on the other side of the road. The aircraft then inverted and stopped near a farm building.”
Both men were able to get out and were treated for minor injuries at the scene by paramedics from the Wales Air Ambulance who are based at the airport.
The report concludes that, after the accident, the qualified pilot realised his decision to allow the unqualified pilot to fly the aircraft was probably influenced sub-consciously by the fact that he was a senior work colleague.
Source : DailyPost