Plane crashed to ground after wing clipped runway during take off

Air Accident Investigation Branch

Air Accident Investigation Branch - Credit: Archant

An aircraft crashed to the ground after its wing clipped the runway as the pilot attempted to take off, an accident report has revealed.

Pilot Kevin Armstrong, of Glatton, was injured and his aircraft badly damaged after the incident, which took place in Benwick, near Ramsey, shortly after 3pm on August 2 last year.

The incident was reported to the Air Crash Investigation Branch, which sent investigators to determine the cause of the incident.

Trouble arose when Mr Armstrong, who was more than 1,200 hours of flying experience, noticed that his aircraft, a 70 percent scale replica American P51 Mustang, was “drifting to the left” during take off.

It was the second attempt 72-year-old Mr Armstrong had made to get the plane airborne after an earlier attempt was aborted.

A report into the crash noted: “As the aircraft slowed, [Mr Amrstrong] applied right rudder to correct the track but the aircraft failed to respond. It struck an earth bank at the left side of the runway and became airborne.

“It rolled to the left and the left wing struck the ground, causing the aircraft to rotate such that it came to rest in an upright attitude but facing north. In the accident sequence, the engine detached from the firewall and passed down the right side of the aircraft, coming to rest between the wing trailing edge and the horizontal tail plane.”

Most Read

A witness to the incident reported that the nose of the aircraft was about “30 or 40ft” off the ground when it started to stay and roll and the left wing hit the ground.

Emergency services, including an air ambulance, were called to the scene and Mr Armstrong was taken to hospital. Fortunately, he suffered only minor injuries.

The report into the incident noted that the aircraft had been flight tested by a pilot experienced with its type prior to the incident, and that it was in good condition, with no faults which might have rendered it unfit.

In its report, the branch failed to identify a cause for the incident.