The Flylight Dragonlite Fox is a flex-wing microlight aircraft in the ‘single-seat de-regulated’ (SSDR) category with a maximum takeoff weight of 200 kg. It is powered by a 36 hp Polini Thor 250 piston engine.
After normal pre-flight and engine run-up checks the aircraft departed. Once airborne the pilot reduced power a little in accordance with the engine running-in instructions. He then initiated a shallow climbing turn during which the engine stopped suddenly without warning. He selected a large stubble field to land, as it was flat, level and with no obstructions or livestock. As he crossed a hedge he applied right bank to correct some drift and then the aircraft suddenly hit the ground very hard, nosewheel first followed by the right wheel. The ground was soft and the aircraft came to rest 15 feet from the impact point. The pilot submarined under the lap belts and received assistance from a caravanner in the field who released him and took him to hospital. The pilot had fractured a vertebra.
The wind was about 5 kt from the south-west and the forced landing was in a westerly direction. The pilot stated that he had a very short time to perform the forced landing and that, during the flare, his instincts from three years of 3-axis flying caused him to pull back on the control instead of pushing, thus causing the nosewheel to hit first.
The airframe damage meant than an engine test could not be carried out. The pilot is awaiting an engine examination. If the cause of the failure is determined an addendum will be published in a future Bulletin.
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