August is a busy time in general aviation so I suppose it’s not surprising that it is also a time of many accidents. However, the amount of small planes in the news this past week has seemed excessive. These three stories made the international press: the first resulted in five fatalities and thankfully the other two only in minor injuries. I’ll be watching for the accident reports on all of them.
17 August, England: The mid-air collision in Warwickshire has garnered the most attention. A Cessna twin on final appears to have flown directly into a home-built two-seater light aircraft, which disintegrated on the spot. The twin-engine appears to have limped on a bit before crashing into a field about a mile away. The four occupants of the twin and the pilot of the light aircraft were fatally injured. Both pilots were very experienced and were in contact with air traffic control. Both aircraft were coming in to land at Coventry Airport when the crash happened so it would seem the radio transcripts could shed some light on the accident.
17 August, Germany: A couple flying a single engine plane clipped high-tension power lines on take-off from Kempten-Durach and ended up hanging upside down in the plane, some 20 metres above the ground, for two hours before they were able to be rescued. The rescue team brought a hydraulic lift to remove the pilot and his wife from the aircraft before using a car crane to lift the plane out of the wires. Preliminary reports are pointing towards pilot error.
As it happens, this is an airfield I know well, as it is local to my cousin’s Bavarian farm. I only have one photograph that shows the power lines:
I recommend watching the Liveleak video of this, just for the incredible view of the plane dangling upside down. It put shivers up my spine.
19 August, Japan: A Cessna crashed into a city street in Yao, a suburb of Osaka, crumpling the plane into a scary looking piece of metal. The two occupants sustained only light injuries and no one on the ground was injured. The plane had taken off from the local airfield and then, according to news reports, the pilot stated his intention to turn back due to engine trouble. Apparently, fuel to the engine stopped when the pilot made a turn although there was plenty in the tanks.
Looking at the photograph, it’s amazing the amount of damage the plane sustained without causing any major injuries to either the occupants or pedestrians.