During the ‘balloon bursting’ element of a flying display on the coast, the engine lost power and the pilot ditched the aircraft in shallow water. The aircraft flipped inverted and the pilot was trapped in the cockpit by his lifejacket, which had inflated automatically, and his proximity to the sea bed. Two members of the public righted the aircraft and helped the pilot out of the cockpit. The pilot had suffered a minor injury. CAA Safety Sense Leaflet 21d, ‘Ditching’, provides advice on the correct type of lifejacket to wear and guidance and information on ditching.
The investigation revealed that a fragment of balloon had become lodged in the carburettor restricting the airflow into the engine. An approved modification has since been developed to fit a screen to the intake of the carburettor.