A LIGHT aircraft pilot making a hurried take-off from Crosland Moor Airfield in a bid to complete his flight in the light ended up over-running the runway and crashing the aircraft without ever leaving the ground.
The 65-year-old pilot of the 1989 built Piper Cherokee – reg G BPYO – and his two passengers were unhurt but the aircraft was seriously damaged.
Now an official Air Accident Investigation Branch report into the incident has pin-pointed three factors that contributed to what happened.
The report says that the pilot who had 527 hours flying experience made a “hurried departure” in aircraft which was owned by Sherburn in Elmet Aerodrome based Sherburn Aero Club because it was getting late.
Additionally it says he had inadvertently left the carburettor heat switch which is used to prevent ice forming in the carburettor on and had been distracted by the low sun.
The report continues: “The takeoff roll was towards the setting sun, which the pilot found to be a significant distraction and he found it difficult to see inside the cockpit after looking out.
“The passenger in the right seat, who was a qualified Private Pilot’s Licence holder, assisted by calling out the airspeed. By the time the aircraft reached the end of the asphalt section of the runway, it had reached a speed of only 50 kt and the pilot elected to abandon the takeoff.
“He was unable to stop the aircraft within the remaining runway and it overran the end and was substantially damaged.
“The three occupants were able to evacuate the aircraft without assistance. The pilot later established that he had left the carburettor heat control in the ON position.”