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ACCIDENT REPORT INTO SANDOWN PLANE CRASH PUBLISHED

A report into the circumstances of a plane crash in Sandown earlier this year has concluded that carburettor icing or fuel vapour interrupting the fuel flow may be to blame.

The Jodel D120 Modified plane came down on the fairway of the 8th hole at Shanklin & Sandown Golf Club on 3rd June, as previously reported by Island Echo. The incident resulted in a large emergency response shortly before 13:00.

The 51-year-old pilot carried out a forced landing when the plane’s engine failed at 200ft during a go-around. Amazingly, the pilot escaped with only minor injuries and no persons on the ground were injured.

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According to the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), the cause of the engine failure has not been determined but may have been carburettor icing or fuel vapour interrupting the fuel flow.

On 3rd June, G-AVYV departed from Shifnal Airfield in Shropshire at 09:55 en-route to Devon. However, the pilot took the decision to divert to Sandown due to the weather forecast for the West Country. At 400ft the engine start to run roughly, but the pilot applied carburettor heat and the engine returned to normal.

The flight was uneventful until the plane was over the Isle of Wight. As the Jodel descended, the pilot noted the engine was running slightly rough. He confirmed the mixture was rich, both magnetos and fuel pump were on and the carburettor heat was selected hot. To locate the fault, he tried increasing rpm slightly and selected the fuel pump off. These actions appeared to return the engine to smooth operation. The pilot did not recall switching the fuel pump back on.

The pilot continued the approach, reducing speed to 50 kt to maintain spacing behind another aircraft. At 150ft agl he selected the carburettor heat to cold. On landing the aircraft bounced on first contact and floated along the runway. As the aircraft touched down again, it hit a bump and ‘jumped’ back into the air. The pilot decided to execute a go-around, applied full power and started to climb away.

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During the go-around the engine rpm rapidly reduced and then stopped. The pilot applied carburettor heat and the engine briefly recovered before stopping again. He lowered the nose and identified a suitable strip of grass on rising ground to the right before making a brief radio call then focusing on the emergency landing. The aircraft landed firmly and skidded for approximately 20ft before stopping.

The report states:

“The pilot believed the engine failure occurred due to ice forming in the carburettor during the landing. This possibility is consistent with the engine briefly recovering on selection of carburettor heat. He reflected that having experienced carburettor icing during the descent to circuit height he should have left the carburettor heat selected on for longer during the final descent.

“It is also possible that fuel vapour formed in the fuel system. Engines running on Mogas fuel can be susceptible to fuel vapour particularly in warm weather. The pilot selected the electric fuel pump off whilst diagnosing the rough running engine on the downwind leg. The reduction in fuel pressure without the electric fuel pump would increase the likelihood of fuel vapour interrupting fuel flow. The pilot noted that he was careful where he purchased fuel to ensure it had a low ethanol content and added fresh fuel before each flight as recommended in the LAA guidance”.

The aircraft was recovered by the insurance company to a maintenance facility. The maintenance company confirmed that the engine rotated freely, there was fuel in the fuel tank, fuel filters were clean and both fuel pumps were full of fuel.

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