Plane crash caused by engine failure

ENGINE problems were today blamed for a crash-landing near Ipswich, which saw two people escape unscathed from their badly damaged plane.Despite getting into difficulties at 4,000ft after leaving Crowfield airfield, the pilot and passenger were able to walk away with only minor bruising.

ENGINE problems were today blamed for a crash-landing near Ipswich, which saw two people escape unscathed from their badly damaged plane.

Despite getting into difficulties at 4,000ft after leaving Crowfield airfield, the pilot and passenger were able to walk away with only minor bruising.

However, their light aircraft sustained extensive damage to the fuselage, engine, undercarriage and left wing after it was forced to land in a nearby field.

When the nine-year-old Europa aircraft took off their were no indications of a problem with the engine, said a report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).


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During the flight the 63-year-old pilot took the aircraft to 4,000ft to conduct a stalling exercise. The engine began to misfire, but when power was increased to overcome this it did not respond.

The pilot, who had a total of 285 hours flying experience, tried other ways of resolving the difficulty, but was forced to request a priority landing because of continuing engine problems.

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While descending it became clear a safe landing on the grass runway at Crowfield was unlikely and the pilot selected full power. Fortunately the aircraft appeared to respond and the plane began to climb, with the intent of flying a tight low-level circuit followed by a relatively strong tailwind.

However, during the manoeuvre it became clear the engine was not producing sufficient power to maintain height and speed and an emergency landing was the only viable option.

As the aircraft touched down it ran smoothly for around 50 to 60 metres before a wheel dug in, pitching the plane forward and causing it to spin through 180 degrees before coming to rest.

Commenting on the incident, which occurred at 12.20pm on Sunday, March 5, the AAIB report said: “This accident highlights the dangers of relying on an engine which is of doubtful reliability.

“The intended tight low-level circuit with a relatively strong wind and suspect engine would have been a demanding manoeuvre and not without considerable risk. The pilot is to be commended for making the quick decision to force-land ahead when the engine lost power again and not to attempt to return to the airfield.”

WEBLINK: www.aaib.dft.gov.uk

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