AAIB investigation to Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP, G-RIGH 28 August 2017

Electrical failure and forced landing in a field, Faversham Road, Seasalter, Kent, 28 August 2017.


In the cruise, during his second flight of the day, the pilot reported that he noticed the alternator light was lit. Attempts to troubleshoot the problem did not resolve it and electrical systems progressively failed, also affecting engine indications. He briefed his passengers and elected to carry out a forced landing in a field. The touchdown was hard and the pilot reported that the right wheel “stuck in the mud” before the landing gear detached. There were no injuries.

In hindsight, the pilot stated that he could have landed safely at an airfield but that the number of problems being presented to him restricted his thinking and mental capacity. The CAA publication Safety Sense Leaflet 23, ’Pilots – it’s your decision’ provides some information on human performance limitations. There is a significant amount of published information regarding human factors, highlighting the decision making limitations we can suffer under high workload situations.

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Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP, G-RIGH 01-18

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 11 January 2018