AAIB investigation to Pipistrel Alpha Trainer, F-JDGZ

Inadvertent retraction of flaps during go-around, Clench Common Airfield, Wiltshire, 11 July 2018.


The aircraft was on the final leg of a delivery trip from the manufacturer in Slovenia. The owner, who was operating as pilot in command (PIC), was seated in the left seat and had flown two prior legs that day. The pilot in the right seat had flown as PIC on other legs on previous days of the trip. This pilot was also qualified as an instructor.

The PIC overflew the airfield, determined that there was minimal wind and elected to land on Runway 26, a 450 m grass strip. During the landing he bounced and elected to go around. Control was taken by the pilot in the right seat and a second approach commenced. The aircraft touched down approximately one third of the way down the runway. Upon applying the brakes, the pilot flying determined that the braking effect would not slow them sufficiently and decided to go around. He opened the throttle and, once airborne, initiated a slight right turn to avoid some trees on the climb out. He noticed that the climb performance was not as expected and, realising that the airbrakes were extended, called “Retract Retract” to the PIC, who had the controls for the electrically driven airbrakes directly in front of him. Instead of operating the airbrake control, the PIC retracted the flaps. The ensuing loss of lift caused the aircraft to sink into a corn field at the end of the runway. It struck a wire fence and came to rest in a field.

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Pipistrel Alpha Trainer, F-JDGZ 01-19

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 10 January 2019