Mainwheel struck airfield lighting unit, Rochester Airport, Kent, 7 December 2016
Following a medical procedure, the pilot asked a qualified flight instructor (FI) to act as his “safety pilot”. The FI agreed and occupied the right seat of the pilot’s dual-controlled aircraft. The pilot had not sought advice from an Aero-Medical Examiner (AME) prior to the flight.
The left of two parallel runways (Runway 20L) at Rochester Airport was being used for takeoff but the pilot was unaware that Runway 20R was being used for landings when he carried out some forced landing practice orientated towards Runway 20L. During the second approach, when the aircraft was close to the ground, the FI in the right seat overrode the pilot’s control inputs and turned the aircraft right, towards the parallel Runway 20R. The right mainwheel hit and destroyed an airfield lighting unit before the pilot regained control and landed the aircraft on Runway 20R.
The pilot assessed the accident to be a breakdown in communication and inappropriate aircraft handling by the FI during the approach. A contributory factor was a misunderstanding of the regulations concerning a ‘Safety Pilot’.
Download glossary of abbreviations:
Published: 13 July 2017
Date of occurrence: 7 December 2016