Tipsy Nipper feeling Dippy

23 Apr 08 One Comment

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.

Category: Flying,

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