AAIB investigation to Tipsy Nipper T.66 Series 2, G-NIPS
Forced landing following engine failure, near West Tisted Airstrip, Hampshire, 14 July 2015.
The pilot was flying at 1,000 ft when he noticed an unusual rattling noise from the engine. He began a diversion to West Tisted Airstrip but when he was approximately one mile away, there was a loud bang and the engine stopped.
The pilot found the area did not contain a good choice of fields for a forced landing and he selected what appeared to be a ploughed field as the least-worst option. Having recognised that the aircraft might invert on landing, he arranged his approach so that the aircraft passed close to a farm tractor, in the hope of alerting the driver to his presence. The field contained a brown coloured standing crop and, as the aircraft touched down, it inverted immediately. The pilot sustained spinal injuries and was trapped in the aircraft. However, he was rescued by farm staff righting the aircraft before the emergency services arrived. There was no fire.
The pilot reported that the engine was significantly damaged internally, making it difficult to determine which component initiated the failure. However, it appeared to have been caused by a broken valve fouling a piston, which then failed.
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Published: 11 February 2016
Date of occurrence: 14 July 2015