THE pilot of a plane that crashed into a row of parked cars at Brimpton Airfield may not have properly set the aircraft for take-off, an investigation has found.
One woman was airlifted to hospital with serious facial injuries after the vintage Second World War Tiger Moth light aircraft ploughed into the vehicles as it attempted a take-off during a fundraising ‘fly-in’ session in June 2016.
A subsequent inquiry by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) found that the pilot may have failed to reset the elevator trim after taxiing to the runway.
The report also states that an extra seat cushion used for the first time by the 67-year-old pilot may have changed his perspective on take-off, giving him the impression that the tail was higher than it actually was.
Emergency services were called to the scene at around 3pm on June 5 after the plane’s right wing hit a safety barrier and the aircraft swung to the right, through the barrier, colliding with the parked cars.
The wooden propeller shattered on impact with the barrier and splinters of wood scattered across the airfield.
A woman who had been sitting in one of the parked cars suffered serious facial injuries as she was hit by the flying wooden shards.
The pilot and passenger both escaped injury.
AAIB investigators say that while taxiing the pilot positioned the elevator trim “fully aft”, which is the normal position for ground manoeuvring of the aircraft.
The pilot, however, told investigators that he could not recall resetting the elevator trim before take-off.
After accelerating as normal the plane hit a bump and became airborne.
“Concerned that the aircraft might land again and pitch forward onto its nose, the pilot relaxed the forward pressure on the control column, intending to accelerate the aircraft close to the ground,” the report explains.
“However, the aircraft pitched up in a manner that the pilot found sudden and surprising.”
The pilot told the investigation, at this point he began to have difficulty maintaining directional control and, after attempting to regain control, aborted the take-off and closed the throttle.
The plane then collided with the barrier.
Investigators found no fault with the aircraft.