Druine D.31A Turbulent, G-ARLZ
The aircraft was being flown from Exeter to Taw Mill to attend a PFA fly-in. On arrival at the airfield, the pilot carried out a left base join for grass Runway 17 which has a total length of 500 m. Although the pilot had not previously landed at Taw Mill, he was aware of the advice issued by the ‘Devon Strut’ internet site which states ‘There is a 100 ft upslope from the threshold of r/w 17. It is common practise to land uphill with a tailwind but this depends on aircraft type and pilot experience. If not sure, make a low level pass to assess conditions.’ As he approached the airfield, he estimated from ground smoke that the wind was light and from the north-west giving a tailwind component to Runway 17. The final approach appeared normal but as the pilot flared the aircraft, the airspeed decayed rapidly and the aircraft landed heavily. Both main landing gear assemblies broke off and the aircraft came to a halt rapidly. The propeller blades both shattered as it slid along the ground. The pilot was able to escape uninjured from the open cockpit. The pilot considered that maintaining a slightly higher groundspeed during the latter stages of the approach might have prevented critical energy loss during the flare.
Published 10 December 2014