The pilot and a friend were returning from Bodmin airfield in Cornwall to Uckfield Farm strip near Newport, Gwent. The aircraft was seen by witnesses flying at approximately 500 ft in a wings-level attitude, possibly in a gentle descent. The engine sounded normal, running at a medium to high speed. Witnesses on the ground saw the tail move up and down rapidly, and debris was seen to fall from the aircraft before the wings and horizontal tailplanes detached. The fuselage came down in a grass field, fatally injuring both occupants. The investigation has found that a structural failure of the right wing trailing edge retaining pin mechanism had initiated the in-flight break up of the aircraft. At an early stage of the investigation the AAIB issued a Special Bulletin to publicise the factual information available at that time. As a result of those initial findings, immediate and repetitive inspections of other aircraft of the type were mandated.
Europa, G-HOFC 05-08.pdf (667.95 kb)