Pilot and wind to blame for motor glider crash

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A crash landing at Saltby Airfield in which a motor glider, registered to an Ilkeston man, was damaged but from which the pilot walked away unhurt has been blamed in a newly published air crash report on the pilot and the wind.

The 1987 built Hoffman H36 Dimona – reg G BNUX – registered in the name of Martin Hands, trustee of the Buckminster Dimona Syndicate of Lakemead, The Spinney, Ilkeston, had already completed two successful circuits of the airfield on April 24 this year.

But problems began when the unnamed 67-year-old pilot, who had 243 hours flying experience, made his third landing approach.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch report says that the crosswind and turbulence had increased and the landing approach had become “a bit challenging.”

As a result the pilot executed a ‘go-around’ to position for another landing. But the report says that on the next landing approach conditions were worse.

The report continues: “The pilot was having to fly with his left hand on the control column and his right on the spoiler/brake lever, whereas most of his previous experience on other aircraft had used the opposite method.

“At about 40ft, the aircraft was buffeted strongly but the pilot’s reactions were on the wrong controls – treating the spoiler lever as the control column and vice-versa.

“The aircraft descended rapidly and either ballooned or bounced back into the air. He admits he was confused and lacked the presence of mind at that stage to open the throttle and abandon the landing.

“He continued and hit the ground hard in a level attitude, causing damage to the propeller and engine but coming to a halt after a normal ground roll.”