Cause of Spitfire crash remains undetermined after investigation

Angela Huzulak
September 20, 2021

The cause behind a pilot losing control of a replica Spitfire aircraft at Breighton Air Field has not been determined, a report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed.

The report, released last week, summarises the circumstances surrounding the 65-year-old pilot’s crash on April 22, 2021. It states that the unnamed operator had crashed the Spitfire Mk 26 G-CLKN upon landing at 80mph with full flap selected for a three point landing - a style of landing that sees all tires touchdown simultaneously. The report said: “The aircraft bounced slightly as it touched down on the runway, then settled on all three wheels, initially straight ahead. Around 100m into its landing roll, it veered right. “The pilot applied opposite rudder and brake, and thereafter a “burst of power” (with the intention of increasing the rudder’s effectiveness). However, the aircraft left the runway and struck a parked aircraft.” The pilot, who had “extensive experience” operating tailwheel aircrafts, was the only person in the aircraft and didn’t sustain any injuries. The report went onto say: “[The pilot] believed that a small ridge in the grass runway surface contributed to the bounced landing, during which he briefly applied full rudder, causing the tailwheel steering to disengage. “It is not clear what caused the loss of control. Wheeler landings may be preferable on the type, and disengagement of the tailwheel steering during a bounced three-point landing could have been a factor.”

G-CLKN. Credit: AAIB report. (16-09-45 SU)

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