Aircraft crashed because pilot was trying to avoid birds

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Aircraft at Oban AirportImage source, Kevin McGlynn
Image caption,
The aircraft ended up off the runway near the beach

An aircraft crashed into a fence and ended up in bushes after the pilot tried to avoid a flock of birds on a runway.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said none of the three people on board were injured in the incident.

They all managed to leave the aircraft before emergency services arrived on the scene.

During the takeoff roll the sole crew member, on board with two passengers and a dog, noticed the flock of birds on the end of the runway and attempted to abort.

The Extra 400 aircraft, which was heading to Shoreham, overran and struck the airfield boundary fence before stopping in an area of bushes before the shoreline.

'Unable to stop'

The report said: "The pilot stated that, in his view, aircraft performance was very poor at the lift-off speed indicated in the [Pilots Operating Handbook] and that he always used higher speeds.

"At approximately 80 (knots) the pilot became aware of a flock of birds at low level over the end of the runway.

"He was concerned that the aircraft would not have sufficient performance to climb above the birds and so decided to stop."

It added that the 53-year-old pilot believed the brakes became ineffective after overheating with the engine shockloaded. The propeller and front wheel were also damaged.

The report concluded: "Distracted by the presence of birds over the end of the runway the pilot made a decision to abort the takeoff at high speed but was unable to stop before overrunning the end of the runway."