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Not an Instructor

PUBLISHED: 12:36 23 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:06 10 October 2012

A Tiger Moth was seen by several people as it landed on grass Runway 25 at Shoreham. They described the approach as higher than usual, and saw the aircraft using a sideslip to lose height.

A Tiger Moth was seen by several people as it landed on grass Runway 25 at Shoreham. They described the approach as higher than usual, and saw the aircraft using a sideslip to lose height.

The final approach was described as fast and steep, with the landing resulting in a heavy touchdown on the mainwheels. The aircraft bounced several times before coming to a stop, and was then taxied to the apron.

In the front seat was a private pilot who had arranged a trial flight in the Tiger Moth through a local flying club. He had more than 1,000 hours flying experience, but limited time on tailwheel types.

His understanding was that he would be having a lesson from a flying instructor employed by the club. The flight was uneventful until the approach phase which he felt was steep, with a high rate of descent.

The landing was hard and the aircraft bounced back into the air. The nose then pitched forward and there were several more bounces before the aircraft came to a stop. On questioning the instructor after the flight he was informed that the landing was normal and within the normal stresses that the aircraft could withstand.

The rear seat pilot, who was pilot in command, was handling the aircraft for the landing. He was not a qualified flying instructor, although the club had employed him in that capacity. He was unable to provide any details of the accident flight since he is of the opinion that the damage to the aircraft was not caused during the course of it but must have occurred during a subsequent flight.

There was no record available from the airfield movement log of any flights by the Tiger Moth on the day of the reported accident. Therefore it was not possible to determine whether the aircraft flew that day, and if it did, on how many occasions, or whether there were any flights after the one described.

The damage to the aircraft was not immediately obvious; the only external signs were slackness in the rigging wires. Once this was noticed the aircraft was not flown again and it was later taken by road to a repair organisation. The damage, to the main spars and rigging, could only be fully assessed once the fabric had been removed from the wings.

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