The flight to and the approach into Keyston Airfield were normal. The grass runway of the farm strip is unmarked and is bordered by a hedge to the east and barley field to the west.
In the three-point landing attitude of the Starduster there is no forward visibility of the runway, so visual cues are taken from either side of the aircraft. Prior to touchdown the pilot had been prioritising his cues to the east side (where the hedge and parked aircraft were located) and had neglected to monitor the west side sufficiently. He was therefore unaware that the aircraft had drifted half over the crop margin. It touched down in the barley crop and the resultant rapid deceleration caused it to nose over. The momentum continued the rotation vertically over the tail and back onto the landing gear and the aircraft came to rest, upright, at the runway/crop boundary. The pilot disembarked the aircraft normally.
The pilot assessed that contributory factors to the accident were: this being his first landing at the airfield in a tailwheel aircraft and rushing his decisions due to being late for a planned meeting with friends.
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Published 14 September 2017