Devon

James Bond-style plane 'not allowed to fly in UK'

Howard Cox Image copyright PA
Image caption Howard Cox (pictured in a different aircraft) was on his way to Foynes Air Show at the Shannon Estuary

A pilot who died when his James Bond-style kit plane crashed in Ireland was previously refused a permit to fly the aircraft in the UK, a report says.

Howard Cox, 67, from Bideford in Devon, was on his way to an air show in the Republic of Ireland in July 2015 in a home-built Bede BD5 aircraft.

The plane crashed after an engine fire.

Ireland's Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) said the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had banned such aircraft over safety concerns.

Mr Cox, who had more than 3,200 hours of flying experience, attempted an emergency landing in Co Waterford after his engine failed. The aircraft exploded on impact.

He had been flying in the Waterford-based plane for eight minutes, to the Foynes Air Show at the Shannon Estuary, before making a mayday call reporting an engine fire.

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Mr Cox had spent 30 years working on his single-seat kit plane, similar to one featured in James Bond film Octopussy.

The AAIU report said the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) granted Mr Cox permission to fly the plane.

This was after the aircraft was damaged in a similar emergency landing in Devon in 1994, albeit with a different engine.

Image copyright Motohide Miwa
Image caption A similar type of plane featured in the opening sequence of James Bond film Octopussy

Inspectors said the CAA rejected a new Permit-to-Fly application for the Bede in the UK five years later over the aircraft type's "very poor safety record".

The CAA said US statistics showed of the few hundred fully constructed BD5s flying between 1972 and 1998, there were more than 80 accidents, 37 involving death or serious injury.

The CAA also stopped it from flying in the UK in 2000.

The IAA has told the AAIU it will not accept any further applications to register BD5s in the future.

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