AAIB investigation to Zenair Ch 601ULA Zodiac, G-CIWS

Collided with hedge after encountering turbulence on approach, North Moor Airfield, near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, 13 May 2018.


The pilot was returning to North Moor, his home airfield and, because it was a warm day and the atmosphere was thermally active, he expected turbulence near the airfield. He positioned the aircraft on final approach for the grass Runway 27 and estimated the wind was from 300º at a maximum of 9 kt. Because there are power lines approximately 225 m from the airfield boundary, the pilot flew above them, before steepening his approach and aiming to land near the runway threshold. However, the aircraft sank unexpectedly and, despite adding power, the pilot could not prevent it colliding with a hedge at the eastern airfield boundary. After penetrating the hedge, the aircraft passed close to a parked vehicle and the nose landing gear collapsed before it came to rest near the runway threshold. The pilot opened the canopy and evacuated without injury.

There are hangars and other buildings to the north of the runway threshold and the pilot thinks that the north-westerly wind may have curled over these buildings, creating a strong downdraught which he encountered. In hindsight, and considering the wind direction, he believes he might have avoided the worst of the downdraught had he stayed a little higher on final approach and landed slightly further down the runway than normal.

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Zenair Ch 601ULA Zodiac, G-CIWS 07-18

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Published 12 July 2018