Hucknall plane crash caused by loss of power
The Air Accident Investigation Branch report said the light aircraft carrying the Merlin Flying Club members ‘stalled and entered an incipient spin, probably following a partial loss of engine power the cause of which could not be determined’.
Said the report: “The first evidence of anything unusual was the sighting by Witness A of the aircraft flying low. There was no reason for the aircraft to be in this location during normal flight operations and nothing to suggest that either the pilot or passenger would deliberately choose to operate the aircraft in this way. In the absence of deliberate action it is likely the aircraft was at this height because of a performance issue.”
The crash, which happened shortly after take-off from Hucknall’s Rolls Royce airfield, was witnessed by motorists on the M1 and was partially captured by a vehicle with a dashboard camera travelling on the southbound carriageway.
“It showed the aircraft initially in flight to the west of the motorway,” said the report. “The aircraft could be seen flying generally straight for around eight seconds before it commenced a left turn.
“The aircraft appeared to have turned through approximately 90° before rolling sharply to the left and entering a vertical rotating descent. The aircraft passed out of sight behind the motorway embankment having completed about
360° of rotation.”
Other witnesses dashed to the scene in the immediate aftermath of the crash to ‘render first aid to the occupants, but it was obvious that both occupants had sustained fatal injuries’.
The report concluded: “The aircraft failed to reach normal circuit height after takeoff probably because of a partial loss of engine power. The aircraft continued flight at low altitude and airspeed before stalling, and an incipient spin entry resulted in the aircraft striking the ground vertically nose-down.”