Northampton

Spanhoe Airfield: Fatal crash caused by plane stalling

1944 Auster AOP 5 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption This is an earlier 1944 model of the aeroplane which crashed

A crash which killed a pilot on his second flight in a vintage aeroplane was caused by the aircraft stalling, an air accident report has found.

The pilot of the Auster AOP9 died and his passenger was seriously injured in the crash at Spanhoe Airfield, Northamptonshire, on 18 June 2017.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch found the 1955 plane stalled at low altitude and could not recover.

It burst into flames when it landed and the passenger was thrown out.

Image copyright AAIB
Image caption The crashed plane dated from 1955. It landed in a field beside the runway

The aircraft had recently been rebuilt and restored at Spanhoe Airfield, near Corby, by its owner - the pilot who died.

The 49-year-old had taken it out for its first flight the day before, the report said.

The plane took off at about 11:30 BST.

The report said a group of bystanders in a hangar heard it crash shortly afterwards but did not see what happened.

They arrived at the crash site, in a field beside the runway, to find the aircraft on fire, while the passenger was found 21m (68ft) away.

A horse rider watching from 430m (1,400ft) away told the investigation the takeoff initially seemed normal, but after a short pause it rolled into a steep descent.

The report concluded the plane must have stalled at a low height, but could not identify any other technical issues which might have contributed to the accident.

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