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Last updated: 14 January 2011
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Damaged beyond repair
A pilot had an amazing escape today after his light aircraft plunged from the sky and crashed into a field. Incredibly, the unnamed man was able to walk away from the wreckage without only minor injuries. The crash happened shortly before midday when the light plane was believed to have developed engine problems as it flew over Winterbourne Earls, near Salisbury, Wiltshire. A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said that police and fire crews were called to the scene by shocked local residents who saw the plane in trouble. He said: 'We were notified by the fire service at 11.52 today of reports of a light aircraft crashing in a field. The wreckage was found near to the A345 at Longhead, Salisbury. The male pilot was able to walk away from the wreckage with only minor injuries. Fire crews remain at the scene dealing with the wreckage and clearing any spillages as a result of the crash.' It is understood that the Civil Aviation Authority had also been notified to launch an investigation into the incident. Their initial report reads as follows: "G-SRUM had taken off from Old Sarum for a local flight. The flight was without incident until, in the vicinity of Langford Lakes, some 12 km north-west of Old Sarum and at an altitude of 2,800 feet, the pilot noticed that the right side of the cockpit canopy had become unlatched. He reached for the locking lever on that side and applied downward pressure to lock it. This appeared to be successful although he noticed that the action felt “soggy” and lacked the distinct click which he normally expected to hear. He continued with the flight but, a few minutes later, he noticed that the right lever had moved towards open again and that the left lever had also moved out of the locked position. He grasped both levers and moved them back towards the locked position as far as he could. However, when he saw the right lever move again he decided to cut short the flight and return to Old Sarum, recalling that, about six weeks ago, he had been flying this aircraft when one of the canopy latches had become unlocked and the club Chief Flying Instructor, with whom he was flying, had taken the same precaution. In the descent at about 1,800 feet altitude, the canopy suddenly began to open again and the pilot was unable to pull it shut. As he was within about a mile of his destination, he radioed a mayday call to Old Sarum, saying that he had “lost the cockpit”. He was aware that this was not accurate (the canopy had remained attached) but, given the urgency of his situation and the wind noise which was making communication difficult, he felt he did not have time to give more detailed information. He asked Old Sarum ATC for an immediate landing clearance. He heard their initial acknowledgement but the wind noise meant he could not hear the rest of their reply. The aircraft was rapidly losing height and turning towards the runway increased the rate of descent – he was now at about 300 feet and he selected an appropriate field straight ahead of him for a forced landing. He just made the field but saw that it contained a tall crop of rape. He heard the wheels brush the top of the crop before he felt the aircraft ‘dig in’ and start to flip over. He believes he must have lost consciousness for a few moments because he next remembered hanging upside down in his harness. He turned off the fuel and electrics before kicking his way out through the canopy. There was no fire". Damage sustained to airframe: Landing gear, fuselage, wings, and canopy damaged. As a result, the airframe was deemed to be "beyond economic repair", and the registration G-SRUM was cancelled by the CAA on 17/1/2013 as aircraft "destroyed"
1. AAIB: https://assets.digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk/media/5422fde540f0b61342000873/Aero_AT-3_R100_G-SRUM_10-12.pdf 2. http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1436485-Pilot-survives-light-aircraft-crash-in-Wiltshire-field 3. CAA: https://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=60&pagetype=65&appid=1&mode=reg&fullregmark=SRUM 4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2163614/Pilot-walks-away-minor-injuries-light-aircraft-crashes-field.html 5. http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/20120630GAOccurrencesBetween01June2012And30June2012.pdf 6. http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/9779109.Aircraft_crashes_in_Winterbourne_Earls 7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-18562786
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