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Tiger Moth down at Compton Abbas (August 2017)

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  • Chris Cussen
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Jul 2012
    • 90

    If Chitts had quoted his sources that would make a difference, otherwise it appears as mere speculation.


    • Sabrejet
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Mar 2010
      • 1645

      ...I get pretty peed off with people getting injured or killed in stupid b. accidents
      If the DH.82 pilot is the chap I flew with, he had significant military flight time, not to mention his considerable experience in Moths. I therefore find it highly unlikely that he'd have been the cause of a "...stupid b. accident".

      Meanwhile my sincere condolences to families and friends. I shall await the full report before being so disrespectful as to apportion blame before any facts are known beyond here-say.

      Apologies if that sounds rude but I have a very soft spot for Compton Abbas and all those who are involved in its running.


      • Newforest
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Apr 2005
        • 8817


        No mechanical fault found with the crashed aircraft. G-ADXT. I have been round the world 11.83 times!


        • Propstrike
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Mar 2004
          • 3891

          I have for a while felt that a change of emphasis in forced landing teaching is overdue, because far too high a proportion ( prob over 40 % ) of engine failures result in serious injuries or death, due to to high energy impact. In such cases this is usually because control has been lost in the final seconds of flight.

          Why? Because the pilot is under great stress, and probably acting below normal competence, and furthermore, flying in an unfamiliar flight regime ie low level, no power, and no airfield. The above Tiger Moth crashed and burned with enough energy to (seemingly) rupture the fuel tank.

          If a light aeroplane can be placed in a field in a wings- level attitude, at a reasonable approach speed, it would be very rare for the occupants not to survive. It is the loss of control, stall / spin and falling which kills, I think there should be more emphasis on 'sod the aeroplane' point into wind ( minimise energy on touchdown) and put it down wings level, and if it runs into a hedge, or whatever, no matter.

          A couple of years ago a Yak 52 out of Boscombe Down with two test pilots on board crashed fatally when control was lost on short finals. They were surrounded by huge fields, but tried to squeeze into a private grass strip which they spotted at the last moment, pulled too hard, stalled, spun.

          Mark Levy showed us how, two years ago. Ignoring the lure of the runway just in reach ( perhaps ) he banged the Mustang down in a field, wings level, and now the aeroplane is flying again, and more important by far, so is he.

          Given the intensity of Spitfire ride operations, it is very likely that there will be an engine failure on one of these at some stage, and the future of these enterprises will of course be much more assured with a good outcome. Keep the wheels up, place it on the ground, and it should work out OK. Don't dick around with steep turns at low level. If I were the Ops Manager at Goodwood or Biggin, I would make sure the pilots had sound knowledge of all the fields on the climb- out heading of all the runways including gradient, power lines etc, because those are the ones they may well end up in.

          I am reminded of Alex Henshaw gliding down in a Spit during WW2 over the West Midlands, in an area totally build up. He touch down in a row of allotments, and hurtled through fences and sheds, dirt and cabbages flying, but still climbed out OK. As Bob Hoover famously said, fly it as far into the crash as you can.
          Last edited by Propstrike; 12th January 2019, 09:10.


          • scotavia
            • Nov 2005
            • 2670

            Thanks for the nudge Propstrike, I recall my glider days along time ago and its had me look on line. Pleased to find this,,,,I know we are not primarily a pilots place here but the info could help if studied...


            • Chitts
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Jan 2009
              • 134

              Propstrike - as a Flying Instructor I teach part of Exercise 16 (Forced Landings) exactly as you suggest. The (maybe not surprising) result is that the student concentrates exactly on the approach without having to worry about manouvring around a theoretical curcuit. Chance of loss of control is much reduced. All FIs should teach this technique, particularly for engine failures at low level. All my student are taught spinning too.


              • ErrolC
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Dec 2011
                • 740

                Here is a write-up of a power-loss incident with a Harvard in NZ in 2012.


                • Propstrike
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Mar 2004
                  • 3891

                  Errol, I think the inbedded PDF is restricted viewing . Any chance of a copy/paste to non-members. I am interested to read that.


                  • 27vet
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Nov 2009
                    • 2669

                    The AAIB summary and link where you can download the accident report. It looks like it was a very thorough investigation.

                    The aircraft was carrying out an introductory flight with the pilot and a passenger aboard. As it became airborne the engine was heard to misfire, but the aircraft continued to climb before making a left turn. Shortly afterwards, the pilot reported an engine problem and his intention to return to the airfield. The aircraft was on the base leg of an approach for Runway 26 when the nose pitched down, and it appeared to enter a steep descending turn to the left from which it did not recover before impact in a crop field. Both occupants were fatally injured.
                    Loss of control following engine problem on takeoff from Compton Abbas Airfield, Dorset, 26 August 2017.
                    sigpicHindsight is what you see from the tailgunner's position...


                    • mgmike
                      Rank 2 Registered User
                      • Jul 2015
                      • 1

                      Re the NZ Harvard incident referred to above, I was in the front seat of the Harvard doing a type rating at the time. It was a partial failure due to a snapped bolt in the propeller hub causing the prop to go into full course pitch when I attempted to reduce prop rpm immediately after takeoff. The engine was still developing some power. The instructor in the back seat took control and had us initially set up for an off airfield landing however when he realised the aircraft was still maintaining altitude with the available power, he made a gentle turn and landed on the crosswind runway. A very nice piece of flying given the limited view from the back of a Harvard.


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