The aircraft had taken off from Branscome Airfield for a short (5-10 minute) flight to Dunkeswell. After pre-flight checks and engine warm-up, the pilot took off on Runway 10. He set course for Dunkeswell, at a height of approximately 1,300 ft (it was his custom to transit below 1,500 ft to assist Exeter Airport ATC).
After about 2 minutes, the engine experienced a loss of power which the pilot was unable to resolve and he selected a suitable field for a forced landing. Just before touchdown in the field, he had to avoid a high ‘Devon hedgebank’ and this resulted in a left-wing-low attitude which led to the aircraft ground looping. The aircraft was badly damaged and the pilot at first believed he had sustained only minor injuries, including being badly winded, but a hospital check showed he had at least one cracked vertebra. This required some surgery, but he reports that he has made a full recovery.
Although the pilot believes that an issue with carburration would be consistent with the power loss he experienced, he cannot be certain and reports that the engine components were too badly damaged to be tested.