Tipsy Nipper Crash Video

16 Sep 11 One Comment

A few years back I wrote about this Tipsy Nipper going into a flat spin. I didn’t realise it at the time but a few months after my post, the pilot posted his video of the spin to YouTube with commentary. You have to watch this!

The spin was supposed to be a normal erect spin to the right, but for various unintentional reasons the spin went flat, up until that point I had never flat spun an aircraft. I eventualy mananged to get the aircraft into a normal erect spin from which I was able to recover. This aircraft is not fitted with an electric starter motor, so I was unable to restart the engine.

During the “flare” to land the main undercarriage caught the top wires of a barbed wire fence that was invisible to me.

After coming to rest inverted I waited 20mins for the rescue services to come and right the aircraft so I was able to exit via the outward opening canopy.

The aircraft rotated 26 times total, I was extremely disorientated after the recovery to straight and level flight, and was unable to read the instruments.

From the video I estimate I recovered at about 700ft from an entry altitude of 3500ft. If you listen carefully you will hear me say:”I think this is it”. At that stage I did not think I would be able to recover. However I continued to try various control inputs based on the aircraft attitude and rotational rate, which eventually effected a recovery.

My thanks go to the emergency services that found me and allowed my escape.

Here’s my original post from the time:

Fear of Landing » Tipsy Nipper feeling Dippy

Ever wondered what you’d do if you entered an unintentional spin? What about a flat spin, where the plane is horizontal and spinning like a top, all the while falling out of the sky.

Last autumn, there was a post to the Tipsy Nipper Owner’s Group Forum with this photograph and the following comment.

Whilst walking in the RSPB nature reserve in Tollesbury Essex I came across this Nipper after it had crash landed on Monday evening.

They were in the process of removing it on Tuesday morning when I went past, the pilot had a lucky escape as it had flipped over in the marsh, the pilot had to be freed by emergency crews.

The plane was immediately recognised as belonging to Neil Spooner but local news confirmed that he was unharmed. He posted on the message board within the week to let the members know what had happened:

A rather disturbing occurance, normal spin entry and the spin went flat. Having never done any flat spin training was rather at a loss as to what to do to recover (normal spin recovery techniques don’t work in a flat spin). However, a quick review of spin aerodynamics on the way down gave me a few ideas, one of which obviously worked. The engine stopped during the spin (22 rotations) which meant an outfield landing in a rather inhospitable area. The main wheels caught the two top wires of a barbed wire fence in the flare which both decelerated the aircraft and flipped it on its back. I spent 20mins waiting for the emergency services to turn up (pretty good I think) The police air support heli’ landed close by and 2 crew lifted the tail so I could open the canopy and step out. Absolutely no injuries except my pride.

Twenty-two rotations! No, he wasn’t counting, he had a webcam and laptop connected so that he could analyse his aerobatics later. You can read the full accident report as a PDF on the Air Accidents Investigation Branch website.

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One Comment

  • Wow i didn’t knew flat spins were that hard to recover. i had often recovered on simulators where it was almost the same. 9/10 i managed to recover. But dang this one was quite scary.
    And pretty cool how he stays so calm while saying ‘I think this is it’

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