Pilot recounts mid-air crash with another glider over Little Paxton
- Credit: Archant
A pilot has relived the moment another glider crashed into him at 4,500ft, forcing him to parachute out ... only to land in the path of a combine harvester.
Andrew Preston was taking part in a competition from Husband Bosworth on Saturday, July 26, and was flying near Little Paxton when he was struck by another competitor. The 70-year-old, who has been gliding for 20 years after his wife bought him lessons for his birthday, told The Hunts Post: “We are given a triangle route to follow and the aim is to fly it the fastest. I was just approaching the second turn at Oakington when the other glider crashed into me.
“We didn’t see each other, there really was a crunch. I only saw the other glider a fraction before the impact which tipped the glider up.
“My first thought was how to get out. It took me a second or two to gather my thoughts and open the canopy. Then I pulled the buckle that released me and, because the glider was upside down, I just fell out.
“Having fallen out I pulled the operating cable from the parachute which thankfully worked smoothly and I spent two or three minutes floating down. Because I was falling slower than the glider, bits of it came perilously close to me but they missed.”
You may also want to watch:
The Banbury Gliding Club member, from Milton Keynes, added: “We only have emergency parachutes which have only one task, so the landing was a bit rough, like falling from 12 to 15 feet. As they are basic, you can’t control where you go. I was looking around and saw the A1, Little Paxton, the field and some power lines which cause a lot of problems if you get caught up in them and I happened to land smack in front of a combine harvester.
“Because I’m a farmer, I know that the driver would have been concentrating on the top of the blade and not what was in front of them so I moved to where it already was harvested and it went straight past me.
- 1 Numerous Huntingdon High Street shops shut due to flooding
- 2 Take a sneaky peak inside the new Di Rita's at No2 restaurant in St Ives
- 3 Man to appear in court after smashing police car window with sledgehammer
- 4 Drink driver arrested in Brampton for being four times over the legal limit
- 5 Man in court over special constable assault and theft of alcohol
- 6 Man who burgled his own father’s home is sentenced
- 7 Rowdy passengers force train cancellation
- 8 Shocks all round as police pull over 'white van man'
- 9 Diners at St Ives pub help raise £8k for hospitality charity
- 10 Seven men jailed for stealing bikes worth £70k
“The farmer in the wheat collector behind was very helpful and gave me his phone and some water.”
Mr Preston was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, with a cut to his leg and a sore back and neck. He stayed in overnight and doctors rang him at home to say he had broken a vertebrae.
“It’s going to take about six weeks to heal but after that I expect to be flying again,” Mr Preston said.