Cause of plane’s crash landing in Wigan is still a mystery

The plane's damaged wing
The plane's damaged wing

The pilot of a private plane which crashed into a field near Wigan - hitting a sheep - had been practising what to do in the event of an engine failure.


But an unexpected sudden power failure at 2,300ft forced the aircraft into an emergency landing at Snipes Hall Farm, off Mains Lane, near Parbold.

An investigation was launched after the Piper Cherokee plane came down while on a training flight from Liverpool John Lennon Airport on August 28.

READ MORE: Aircraft crash lands into Lancashire field

Experts from the Air Accident Investigation Branch found debris in the carburettor but could not determine whether this had caused the aircraft’s descent.

Three fire engines and a drone were dispatched to the remote location by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service on the day of the incident.

But it has been confirmed by the AAIB probe that neither occupant, including the 53-year-old pilot, was hurt.

No further information was available on the condition of the sheep.

An AAIB spokesman said: “The aircraft departed Liverpool Airport for a training flight and, during the first 15 minutes, two practice engine failures were completed.

“Then at approximately 2,300 ft, while climbing, with maximum engine rpm set, power suddenly reduced and the instructor took control and adopted a glide attitude.”

The report said the pilot selected a second fuel tank and adjusted the carburetor but the engine’s revs did not recover.

Before the descent, the pilot selected a “suitable field” and a distress call was issued.

Once the Cherokee landed the pilot noticed a low fence ahead and briefly lifted the plane again to “hop” over.

The spokesman added: “During the subsequent ground roll several sheep ran in front of the aircraft and one was hit, causing ... damage.”

The left flap was buckled and the stabilator tip on the same was damaged.

Assessing the crash’s probable cause, the AAIB inspector added: “Some unidentified debris was later found in the carburetor but the examining engineer was unsure if this was sufficient to have caused the engine failure.”

The pilot was said to have more than 970 hours’ experience and the plane belonged to an aviation school based on Merseyside.