Pilot’s lucky escape

A microlight aircraft
A microlight aircraft

A WIGAN pilot and his passenger cheated death in a terrifying microlight crash.

Amazingly Timothy Barker walked away unscathed and his fellow occupant with only minor injuries after the flimsy vehicle was all but destroyed at Barton Aerodrome near Manchester.

A report into the near-tragedy was published this week and suggested that a draught created by other aircraft may have caused it.

The aircraft itself suffered damage to the wings, 
propeller and the pod which carries the pilot and passenger.

Now the 50-year-old pilot, who had 300 hours flying experience has said he had not considered the effect that “prop wash” – the draught created by the propeller of another aircraft – would have had on him.

The 2010, Aviation Quik – reg G HADD – owned by Mr Barker, of Bransfield Close, Hawkley Hall - was attempting to take off on the evening of June 5 when the crash happened.

A newly published Air Accident Investigation Bureau report says that after a ground run of about 100m the pilot was about to take off when he felt “a severe ‘pull’ down and back on the starboard wing”.

The report adds: “With full power still applied, the aircraft turned violently to the right and rolled over.

“When the aircraft came to rest, the pilot and his passenger were able to escape from the aircraft quickly, without difficulty.”

However, the report says the pilot had never experienced anything similar in the past and had taken off from the same runway on many occasions.

He told crash investigators that he thought the most likely cause of what happened was “propeller wash” from a larger aircraft which had landed and which he had not considered to be a potential hazard.

The report adds that the pilot thought that in concentrating on the runway during he had “not seen a potential hazard.”