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Plane which crashed at Wickenby Airfield had faulty compass and speed dial

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 25, 2012

A yellow Tiger Moth, similar to the one which crashed at Wickenby Airfield in May

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A pilot has blamed his lack of recent flying experience for crashing a vintage Tiger Moth aircraft into a field.

The 73-year-old plane ended up upside down and was badly damaged during the incident at Wickenby Airfield.

A report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch also concluded the pilot did not realise an airspeed indicator was broken until he was airborne.

The 68-year-old man crashed despite having more than 15,000 hours flying time to his name.

The report says during the pilot's pre-flight preparation he was "somewhat distracted by the discovery that the aircraft's compass ring was missing, which left the aircraft without a useable compass".

It concluded: "Although very experienced, the pilot observed that he had limited experience on the Tiger Moth.

"He had originally flown it in 1964 and had only a brief conversion back to type in 2010.

"Since that time he had flown only 12 hours on type at irregular intervals, and had carried out only one landing on type in the eight months prior to the accident.

"The pilot considered that his lack of currency on type and limited recent training were contributory factors in the accident."

The report said during take-off the pilot's attention was "entirely outside the cockpit" and he did not realise the needle of the airspeed indicator had detached, leaving only the a stub to estimate airspeed.

Investigators explained when descending the pilot could not travel too quickly, as there was a restricted landing area and the type of aircraft had no wheel brakes.

"The aircraft became low on the approach in the latter stages and, despite the pilot applying full power, the landing gear struck standing crops at the edge of a field immediately before the landing area," it said.

"The aircraft pitched nose-down and came to rest inverted, just clear of the crops."

Gerald Cooper, the aerodrome manager, said: "It was an unfortunate landing incident, where the aircraft landed short of the runway."

The propeller was destroyed and the wings and tail section were damaged.

The 1939 yellow, open cockpit biplane, with the registration G AOHY, is the property of the airfield co-owner Stephen Turley.

The incident happened on Thursday, May 24.

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