While on final approach the aircraft sank in turbulence, and this alarmed the passenger who then, inadvertently, restricted the control stick from being moved rearwards. Consequently, the pilot could not prevent the aircraft from descending rapidly, and the left main landing gear detached in the ensuing ground contact with the grass runway. While this occurred the passenger was instructed to allow the pilot freedom to move the control stick and, after a single bounce, the pilot landed the aircraft on its right main landing gear and tailwheel. However, as the airspeed reduced, the aircraft settled onto its left wingtip and slewed left, before coming to rest at the edge of grain crop which adjoined the runway.
The pilot noted that he often provides air experience flights, and he had not anticipated that his passenger might unexpectedly “freeze” in such a manner, at a critical moment. He believes that if he had been more prepared for such an eventuality, he might have been able to overcome the restriction by exerting greater force to the control stick.
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Published 11 October 2018