A pilot has blamed herself in an official report for a crash landing at Fenland Airfield last September in which the aircraft was damaged but from which she walked away unscathed.
The incident happened after the 53-year-old pilot, who had 160 hours’ flying experience, took to the air but then abandoned the flight and returned to the Holbeach St John airfield because of deteriorating weather conditions.
The newly published Air Accident Investigation Branch report says that she had planned a flight of around an hour in the 1976-built Cessna Skyhawk – reg GBIHI.
But it says that, after take-off, she encountered “worsening weather” and decided to curtail her flight. However, when she got back to Holbeach St John the visibility had deteriorated and she flew a closer than normal approach.
This, says the report, placed the aircraft higher on its landing approach than was usual. Initially the pilot decided to abandon the landing attempt and to go round for another one, but then she decided a safe landing could be achieved and continued the approach.
The report says: “The aircraft bounced on touchdown and the nose landing gear subsequently struck the ground prematurely and collapsed.”
In addition to the landing gear the propeller was also damaged.
Describing the last moments before the crash, the report says : “Although the pilot was reluctant to execute a go-around in the deteriorating visibility, she prepared to do so.
“The pilot then re-assessed the situation, believing that a safe landing could be achieved within the runway length, so continued the approach. She flared the aircraft for landing about one third of the way along the runway.
“The aircraft bounced and the nose landing gear subsequently struck the ground and collapsed. The pilot attributed the bounced landing to an error of judgement at the point of flare.”