Cause of fatal Tiger Moth crash remains a mystery
AVINTAGE Tiger Moth that crashed killing two people was “corkscrewing” and sounding “awful and misfiring” in the seconds before it hit the ground, a witness said.
But the cause of the accident remains unclear after an official report could not get to the bottom of the tragic incident.
The Air Accident Investigation Board yesterday released its findings into the fatal accident in Dorset in August 2017.
There was no evidence that the aircraft, which was built in 1935, had suffered an engine failure before the accident, the report found.
Experienced pilot Christopher Harvey Nicholls, 64, from Farnham, and passenger Peter Geoffrey Stacey, 67, died in the accident.
The “air experience” flight was the first of the day from Compton Abbas Airfield.
The aircraft was returning to the airfield after the pilot had reported problems with the engine shortly after take-off.
The plane suffered massive fire damage as well as the crash impact, which added to the challenge faced by the accident investigators.
The report said the pilot had begun his career in the Royal Air Force and had been a commercial pilot flying Boeing 747s.
He had more than 22,000 hours of flying experience.
The report concluded that “the accident occurred when the pilot was attempting to return to the airfield after reporting a rough running engine.
“Damage sustained during the accident prevented an assessment of the magnetos, ignition system and carburettor. A problem with any one of these could have caused the reported symptoms. The possibility of carburettor icing could not be discounted.
“At about 200ft above ground level, the aircraft pitched suddenly and significantly nose-down before descending in a left turn from which it did not recover before striking the surface of a crop field.
“The reason for this final manoeuvre was not determined.”
The AAIB also released a report yesterday as to why a commercial aeroplane went skidding off the runway at Bristol Airport just before Christmas 2017.
A report has found that a pilot mistakenly put on the emergency brake rather than the speed brake while landing at the airport.
The accident, on December 22, 2017, disrupted the festive getaway for thousands of travellers.
The report found that the BMI flight skidded off the runway and came to a halt after travelling 120 metres along the grass.
It found that control was lost by the pilot as the emergency brake was mistakenly selected rather than the speed brake.
The AAIB noted that the levers for both brakes were “of similar shape and sited close to each other” in the cockpit of the Embraer 145 aircraft involved in the incident. It stated that a high workload due to multiple radio interruptions contributed to the mistake going unnoticed.
None of the 22 passengers or three crew on the flight from Frankfurt were injured, but the aircraft’s landing gear was broken and its wheel rims and tyres were damaged.
At least 60 flights were cancelled or diverted while specialist equipment was brought in to remove the plane, which had dug into the grass.