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Tiger Moth Pilot Fined

PUBLISHED: 12:11 23 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:05 10 October 2012

The Tiger Moth was at Raydon Airfield, Suffolk, for a photo shoot. The pilot said he was making an offset approach to land on Runway 27, with the surface wind blowing across the strip.

The Tiger Moth was at Raydon Airfield, Suffolk, for a photo shoot. The pilot said he was making an offset approach to land on Runway 27, with the surface wind blowing across the strip.

He stated that he misjudged the height of a crop of standing wheat in the undershoot and the aircraft's main wheels touched the crop thirty feet short of the strip threshold. The resultant drag reduced the aircraft's forward speed and it dropped onto its nose and port wing. The crash slewed the aircraft through 180° and it came to rest on its left side. Both occupants escaped with bruises.

An alternative explanation for the accident was forwarded to the AAIB. This claimed that the pilot was carrying out his fifth low fly past for a publicity photograph in close proximity to grass cutting equipment. After passing the equipment at low height on a southerly heading, the aircraft gained height, turned through 100° and descended once more on a north easterly heading. It continued descending and the landing gear touched the crop causing the aircraft to 'flip over'.

The CAA prosecuted the pilot, who pleaded guilty in court to endangerment in contravention of Article 55 of the Air Navigation Order. The pilot was fined £2,000 plus costs of £350. The aircraft insurers denied the aircraft owner's claim because of the pilot's deliberate infringements of the law.

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