Maule MXT-7-180, G-BZDT
The aircraft was being flown to a private grass strip near Portadown where it was occasionally kept. Due to recent rainfall and a strong south-westerly wind the pilot decided to inspect the landing strip by means of a low overflight, prior to landing. He configured the aircraft with two stages of flap, reduced speed and descended to approximately 100 ft agl over the threshold of the strip’s south-easterly runway. On flying down the runway he observed surface water patches and, noting a 15 kt crosswind, decided to divert to Belfast International Airport where the aircraft was normally based. Just before he initiated the diversion, and whilst still at 100 ft agl, the aircraft encountered severe turbulence with downdraughts and lost height. Full power was applied and a positive pitch attitude was selected in an attempt to climb away. However, an uncommanded roll to the left led to a nose low attitude and the left wing and propeller struck the ground before control could be regained. The aircraft then cart wheeled onto its right wing before coming to rest against some trees. The pilot, who was wearing a lap and diagonal harness, was rendered unconscious for a short period before vacating the aircraft without assistance. Evidence indicates that the aircraft flew into an area of turbulence when downwind of buildings and trees adjacent to the runway. In attempting to fly out of the downdraughts whilst at a low airspeed a rapid selection of a positive pitch attitude is likely to have caused the aircraft to stall. An associated wing drop would lead to the roll and subsequent nose low attitude described by the pilot. Such a stall would have been irrecoverable from 100 ft agl. The flaps in the wreckage were found to be in the raised position; any reduction in the flap setting during the attempt to climb away would also have increased the likelihood of an aerodynamic stall.
G-BZDT 1-06.pdf (231.36 kb)