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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 184170
Last updated: 11 April 2021
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Type:Air Command 532 Commander Elite
Registration: Unregistered
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Thetford, Norfolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Nature:Illegal Flight
Departure airport:Thetford, Norfolk
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Written off (destroyed) 24-06-1989 when crashed on take off from a public park in Thetford, Norfolk, killing the pilot (the sole person on board). The flight was, technically, at least illegal, as the aircraft had no registration, certificate of airworthiness, or a permit to fly; the pilot did not possess a valid pilots licence, and no flying training whatsoever. His sole flying training experience was 1 hour 30 minutes as a passenger in a dual seat microlight aircraft. According to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"On 26 February 1989, the pilot attempted to fly this aircraft for the first time from a public park in Thetford, Norfolk, but crashed on take off. The aircraft sustained considerable damage, but the pilot was uninjured.

On 24 June 1989, having repaired his aircraft, the pilot went to the same public park where he had experienced his first accident, and assembled his aircraft for its second-ever flight. At about 18:30 hours, the pilot taxied his aircraft to the far end of the park, where he was seen to spin-up his rotor in preparation for take off

After a ground roll of about 70 metres, the aircraft rotated rapidly to a very nose-high attitude, and leaped into the air whilst yawing rapidly to the left. On reaching a height of about 30 feet, the aircraft levelled, and regained its original heading before entering into a series of violent pitching manoeuvres rolling rapidly to the right, and crashing into a school playground. The elapsed time from take off to impact was 8 seconds. There was no fire, but the pilot sustained serious injuries from which he died in hospital the next day.

The aircraft crashed onto its right side with a rotor bank anglev of approximately 85 degrees from the vertical. The engine was under power through out the flight; this was further confirmed by damage to the propeller blades. Post accident examination of the airframe revealed that it had been repaired in an unsatisfactory and makeshift fashion, which would have led to an eventual structural failure in flight.


1. AAIB:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

02-Feb-2016 21:49 Dr.John Smith Added
02-Feb-2016 21:50 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time]

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