AAIB investigation to Grumman AA-5 Traveller, G-BBSA

Engine cowl opened after takeoff, Durham Tees Valley Airport, 22 May 2017.


The pilot was flying a revalidation flight accompanied by another pilot, who was an instructor. A pre-flight inspection of the aircraft was carried out by the pilot, who reported that the left engine cowl was known to be difficult to open, and after having disengaged the cowl’s latches, the cowl could not be opened so he closed the latches again. The inspection of the engine bay and oil level was completed by opening the right cowl, which was then closed.

The taxi and power checks were uneventful and the aircraft lined up on Runway 23, which is 2,291 m in length. The takeoff run was normal, but just after the aircraft took off, at about 50 ft, there was a bang and the left cowl was seen to open and then “flap” back and forth over the right engine cowl. The instructor briefly took control and closed the throttle before passing control back to the pilot, who landed back onto the runway with about 700 m of runway remaining.

A subsequent inspection of the aircraft found that the left cowl’s latches were still in place and undamaged. The pilot stated that it most likely that the latches were not correctly secured after having tried to open the cowl.

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Grumman AA-5 Traveller, G-BBSA 08-17

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 10 August 2017