Runway ends too soon for pilot who hit hedge
Jenness Mitchell • Published 25 Jul 2012 11:00
AN Alloa pilot ended up in a hedge rather than in the skies when his light aircraft ran out of runway on a private airstrip.
On 25 March earlier this year the 1993 built Rans Coyote, owned by Roger Lawrence Notel Lucey of Gartmorn Farm, made an unsuccessful take off run.
In a newly published Air Accident Investigation Branch report the 52-year-old pilot, who had just 66 hours flying experience, said that his "inexperience had contributed to the accident."
The report said, "He observed that he should have rejected the takeoff when the aircraft first failed to become airborne."
The pilot kept the aircraft at Fife Airfield, but was exploring the possibility of operating it from a field at his farm for which he had prepared a 320 metre strip.
On the day of the accident he flew the aircraft there from Fife accompanied by his son
The report said, "After a practice approach to the strip, the pilot landed the aircraft and his son got out. The pilot then completed several takeoffs and landings in both directions without incident.
"The strip was not entirely level, but the pilot had previously rolled it and cut the grass short, and was satisfied that the aircraft's performance was such that takeoffs could be made safely in either direction at maximum weight. His son re-boarded the aircraft for departure."
The report stated that this time the aircraft failed to become airborne. It said the pilot prolonged the takeoff roll in further attempts to become airborne, before deciding to reject the take off. However by that stage the aircraft ran into a hedge at the end of the strip at low speed.
The aircraft was damaged, but luckily the pilot and his son walked away from the small two-seater plane unhurt.
In addition to blaming his inexperience the pilot also claimed that placing markers on the strip would have helped him to assess takeoff performance and with making a decision to stop.
He added that holding the aircraft in a nose high attitude on the take off run had increased drag significantly and that this and further drag caused by the uneven surface along with the warm conditions and lack of headwind may also have contributed to the accident.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 25 Jul 12
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