Beverley Airfield crash pilot became 'disorientated'

Aircraft wreckage
Image caption A major search was carried out to find the crashed aircraft

Two people were killed in an air crash after the pilot became "disorientated", an accident inquiry has found.

Richard Lewis and Tony Cook were returning from a trip to Scotland to Beverely Airfield in East Yorkshire on 10 October when their aircraft crashed near the landing strip.

The single-engine Cessna crashed in woodland and the pair died instantly.

The Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) said the pilot was not qualified to fly in the dark.

Investigators found no mechanical problems with the aircraft but noted the flight's departure from Midlem Airfield in the Scottish Borders was delayed for "technical reasons".

The AAIB said this meant the flight arrived over Beverley Airfield after dark at about 18:25 BST.

"The pilot telephoned another member of the flying club and arranged for him to illuminate the touch-down area of the grass runway with the headlights of his car," the report said.

"The aircraft was manoeuvring in the final approach area when it was seen to descend rapidly to the ground."

Image copyright AAIB
Image caption THE AAIB report said the pilot became "disorientated" before the crash

A search was carried out involving the emergency services and local farmers using quad bikes.

The wreckage was discovered more than four hours after the crash, about one mile (1.6km) from the landing strip.

The report's conclusion said the pilot had the option to divert to Humberside Airport but "decided to attempt to land at his home airfield Beverley" and noted "he did not have a night rating".

It said: "While manoeuvring in the final approach area at low level the pilot became disorientated, leading to a steep turning descent into a small area of woodland."

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