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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 32629
Last updated: 7 December 2020
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Date:18-MAY-2002
Time:14:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee
Owner/operator:Trustees of the Madley Flying Group
Registration: G-BIHG
C/n / msn: 28-24376
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Mynydd Beili-glas, Rhigos mountain, 8 miles W of Merthyr Tydfil -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Swansea Airport, Fairwood Common, Wales (SWS/EGFH)
Destination airport:Shobdon, Leominster, Herefordshire (EGBS)
Investigating agency: AAIB
Narrative:
Written off (destroyed) 18 May 2002 when experienced a CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) into a hillside on the Mynydd Beili-glas, Rhigos mountain, eight miles west of Merthyr Tydfil, near the Brecon Beacons, 12 nautical miles west of the Brecon VOR in South Wales. Mid and West Wales Fire Service named the crash site as Mynydd Beili-glas, a wooded area of Rhigos mountain approximately 2000 feet above sea level. They sent two fire engines, and a four-wheel drive vehicle to the scene. Officers said the thick trees had softened the impact of the crash-landing. The damaged aircraft was made safe by a crew from the neighbouring South Wales Fire Service.

No injuries sustained to the three persons on board (pilot and two passengers). According to the following extract from the official AAIB report into the accident:

"The aircraft took off from Swansea at 14:05 hours, climbed to 1,500 feet and turned towards the east. The intention was to follow the coast towards Cardiff and then fly on a north-easterly track to Shobdon. At about the time the pilot contacted Cardiff ATC it became apparent that cloud to the north would probably prevent the aircraft from following the intended route. The pilot however, who was not qualified to fly in IMC, initiated the turn onto a north-easterly track whilst maintaining visual contact with the ground; the intention being to return to Swansea if conditions deteriorated further.

During the turn the aircraft entered cloud and despite continuing the turn the pilot was unable to regain visual contact with the ground. He contacted Cardiff ATC stating that he was unsure of his position. The radar controller allocated the aircraft a transponder code and eventually identified it approximately 15 nautical miles west of the Brecon VOR.

The aircraft briefly broke cloud at an altitude of about 2,000 feet where the pilot found himself to be in a small valley. In order to continue the climb however he had to once again enter cloud. The violent pitch and roll motions recommenced as the aircraft climbed through 3,200 feet. At about this stage the radar controller observed erratic behaviour of the aircraft's primary radar return.

Moments later the pilot reported that the aircraft was in a rapid descent. He and his passengers then perceived an increase in 'g' loading and both the pilot and the passenger occupying the front right seat pulled back on the control column. The aircraft broke out of cloud above a wooded mountain side and struck the trees; the passenger in the rear seat later recalled that the indicated speed at impact was 40 mph. The accident site was at an altitude of 1,770 feet.

The pilot and his passengers were extremely lucky to survive this event. The pilot inadvertently flew into cloud and even though he carried out a turn to retrace his track and exit the cloud he was unable to regain visual contact with the ground. He then became unsure of his position. ATC, initially unable to identify the aircraft on radar, instructed the pilot to climb to the minimum safe altitude of 4,000 feet.

This reinforced the only safe option that was available to the pilot. He was in an area of undulating high terrain where the cloud base was below the hill tops. Any descent could have led to an impact with the surface and a climb through cloud, for a pilot without an IMC rating, would have been a daunting prospect. Turbulence and the pilot's unfamiliarity with instrument flying then led to periods when the aircraft was probably out of control, exceeding its recommended maximum speed or flying at or close to the stall".

Three men on board the craft were taken to Morriston Hospital in Swansea by a rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor, Devon. The pilot and two passengers, from the West Midlands and Shropshire, were treated for minor injuries and shock.

The AAIB report confirms that G-BIHG was "Destroyed". As a result, the registration was cancelled by the CAA on 2 January 2003 as "Permanently withdrawn from use"

Sources:

1. AAIB: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5422f0d940f0b61346000367/dft_avsafety_pdf_500270.pdf
2. CAA: https://siteapps.caa.co.uk/g-info/rk=BIHG
3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/1995815.stm

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


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
17-Feb-2015 13:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
17-Feb-2015 17:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Narrative]
21-Jul-2016 13:38 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Jul-2016 13:44 Dr.John Smith Updated [Location, Narrative]

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