The bad landing which left a Palgrave flying group's aircraft seriously damaged but the pilot unharmed was likely a result of "turbulent conditions", an incident report has stated.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) published its findings this month into a light aircraft registered with David Kingsley Lawry, of Palgrave, which crashed into a drainage ditch at a Kent airfield on July 11, 2015.
According to the report, the craft, a 2001 Europa belonging to G-JHYS Group, based in Low Water Lane,veered off the runway at Laddingford Aerodrome, after the pilot, aged 74, who was the only person on board and who escaped without injury, described “bumpy” conditions as he approached the airfield.
The report stated: “The pilot reported there was “quite a bit of turbulence on final approach” and the aircraft landed to the left of the centreline.
“It then continued drifting left and its left wingtip made contact with long grass at the edge of the runway, which yawed it further left until the aircraft was completely off the runway.
“The pilot thought the initial drift was probably caused by the turbulent conditions.
“He was unable to explain why he could not regain runway heading before the aircraft left the runway.”
The incident caused severe damage to the craft’s propeller, landing gear, undercarriage and underside.
The crash of the G-JHYS aircraft was not the only incident to take place at Laddingford Aerodrome that day - within an hour, a nearly identical crash occurred at the very same runway.
Around 35 minutes after this first incident, another europa, registered G-IKRK and owned by Keith Kesterton, of Broxted, also ended up in a ditch after its landing went awry.
An AAIB report said this aircraft had bounced upon its first touch down and then touched down again to the left of the runway, causing the pilot to lose control.
In both cases, these crafts were operated by experienced pilots, with 465 hours and 564 flying hours logged respectively, and both avoided injury.