Shortly after takeoff on a circuit detail, the pilot noticed that the front-hinged canopy had started to open on the right side. He attempted to reseat it while continuing the circuit, with the intention of landing. At 1,000 ft, the canopy lifted by 10 to 12 inches and the pilot was concerned that it would open further, affecting the aircraft handling. There was also a “great increase in wind and noise within the cabin” and the aircraft began to descend. He, therefore, held the canopy and decided to land immediately in a bare-earth field ahead. During the landing roll the aircraft overturned, resulting in it being damaged beyond economic repair and causing minor injuries to the pilot.
A similar accident occurred in June 2012 to another Aero AT-3 R100, registration G-SRUM, and was reported in AAIB Bulletin 10/2012. That report concluded:
‘…the Civil Aviation Authority and the Light Aircraft Association will be publishing articles in their public journals and urging care in both the operation and maintenance of the locking mechanism. These articles will include informing them of the need for a thorough understanding of the locking mechanisms and a double-check that the locks are secure before flight.’
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