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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 189649
Last updated: 28 December 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic EUPA model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Registration: G-BWCV
C/n / msn: PFA247-12591
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Portbury, North Somerset -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Enstone Airfield, Oxfordshire (EGTN)
Destination airport:Lundy Island, Bristol Channel
Investigating agency: AAIB
Substantially damaged 16-07-2006 in a forced landing near Portbury, North Somerset (at approximate co ordinates 51°28′12″N 2°42′59″W). The two persons on board (pilot and one passenger) sustained minor injuries. Per an internet posting from the owner:

"Our recently rebuilt Europa G-BWCV is again in pieces after we put only 30 more flying hrs on this engine to add to the 50hrs it had done in the hands of the previous owner. We had just received the new full permit to fly when recently, heading for Lundy Island, just South of Bristol Docks, the cockpit filled with smoke as if a smoke bomb had gone off and the engine stopped!

I could not discern whether the smoke was electrical in origin but assumed as the engine had stopped it had to be. The cause and subsequent sequence of events has now been established. Alternator bearing seizure initiated dual rubber v-belt slip at the crankshaft pulley. In 2-3 seconds 50 cruise hp turned both rubber belts into smoke and vulcanised them instead of driving the now freewheeling prop (no flywheel effect to snap belts).

The alternator was switched off immediately but to no benefit since its load was not the issue. So instead of the crankshaft pulley driving the alternator, the alternator now seized was now driving the engine to a stop! A relatively
minor accessory failure had initiated a cascade of events equivalent or even worse than a major engine failure.

Of course this should not happen should it? Little did I know I had become an involuntary test pilot!!!!!!!with an
observer! The idea of a re-start attempt was not surprisingly quickly rejected. However, as I now know it would obviously have been a futile exercise, the engine stopped from 50 hp running so the starter did not have a chance".

According to the following excerpt from the official AAIB report:

"The aircraft was cruising at 3,500 feet near the Severn Estuary with the engine at about 4,000 rpm, when, without warning, smoke entered the cockpit accompanied by a burning smell. The aircraft yawed and the nose dropped. The pilot then realised that the engine had stopped, although the propeller was still rotating.

The pilot, who also had approximately 1,000 hours gliding experience, reported that the aircraft attained an unusually high rate of descent as he manoeuvred it towards two adjacent fields which he had selected for the landing. He also reported a severe reduction in elevator effectiveness. He briefed the passenger and switched off the master switch, pulled the circuit breakers and turned off the fuel.

He became aware of power lines running across the larger of the two fields so he made his approach to the smaller field, which was later measured to be 290 metres diagonally. His workload was high as he had to avoid several trees and pylons in the vicinity, and the electric trim was unavailable as the master electric switch had been turned off. The smoke in the cockpit however, had cleared.

The gear and flaps were lowered and the aircraft touched down. Once on the ground the pilot, drawing upon his gliding experience, elected to retract the single wheeled landing gear in an attempt to decelerate more rapidly. Whilst this probably reduced the risk of tipping the aircraft over, it caused the propeller to break off and the flaps to retract.

The loss of drag from the free-wheeling propeller, the lack of flaps and the fact that the wheel still rotated all combined to reduce the deceleration rather than to increase it. The aircraft then struck a dense hedge at the far end of the field causing major damage to the composite fuselage structure fore and aft of the cockpit. Both occupants suffered minor injuries and exited through the doors. The police, fire and ambulance services attended the scene."

Nature of Damage sustained to airframe: Per the AAIB report "Extensive damage to composite fuselage structure". Although the airframe has never been de-registered, there have been no sightings of G-BWCV airborne since this accident. The aircraft has, however, been seen parked at Enstone on 25-08-2007 (see picture below) and at Leicester Airport on 16-02-2009 (see link #8)


1. AAIB:
2. CAA:
3. CAA Safety Recommendation:
8. Wings Over Somerset: A Record of Aircraft Crashes With A Somerset Connection By Peter Forrester

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

Europa G-BWCV at Enstone Airfield, Oxfordshire 25-08-2007 (notice missing tail plane): EuropaClassic

Revision history:

29-Aug-2016 13:15 Dr.John Smith Added
29-Aug-2016 13:16 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source]
29-Aug-2016 13:27 Dr.John Smith Updated [Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description