Piper PA-28-161 Cadet, G-EXON and Piper PA-28R-200 Cherokee Arrow II, G-RONG
The student pilot had accumulated a total experience of 33 hours, with approximately 5 hours in command on type. The conditions were suitable for the flight, with the surface wind reported at Elstree as 180 degrees 5 knots. The pilot reports that she completed all the usual pre-start, power and pre-takeoff checks and was then instructed to take off at her discretion by the FISO. She then lined up on runway 26, applied the appropriate cross-wind takeoff technique, and began the takeoff roll. As the aircraft became airborne, at about 65 knots, she felt the aircraft move laterally to the left, into the crosswind. The aircraft was now on the grass running parallel to the runway. The pilot closed the throttle and mixture controls and attempted to brake, however this was ineffective and the aircraft continued to drift left across the parallel taxiway, now tracking south west. The right wing then made contact with the wing of a Cherokee Arrow, G-RONG, which was parked to the south of the taxiway, causing both aircraft to spin round. The pilot shut down the aircraft and vacated it without injury. In a frank report the pilot considered that, although she had applied the correct crosswind technique, due to her inexperience she probably did not use enough rudder, and may have experienced a slight southerly gust. Her instructor reported that she was a very competent student, thorough in all aspects of her flying, and that she had flown the route with him the previous day to her usual high standard. The Meteorological office was asked to provide details of the surface wind conditions at the time. No gusts had been reported, however gusts of less than 10 kt. above the mean wind speed are not included in METARs. In the meteorologist’s opinion, the surface wind at Elstree was averaging between 6 and 10 knots with gusts perhaps as high as 10-12 knots, however there were no actual reports as such.