Pitts S-1S Special, G-REAP
The pilot was on a local non-aerobatic flight to maintain currency. The weather conditions were fine and, having flown for a longer time than originally planned, the sun was setting as he began his approach to Runway 24. To the south of Runway 24 there is a barbed wire fence which separates the airfield from a narrow road. On the far side of the road there is another fence bordering fields. Having assessed that he was too high, the pilot reduced power and commenced a sideslip to the left to increase the rate of descent. He stated that, during the final stages of the approach he became temporarily blinded by the low sun which was directly over the end of the runway. Despite wearing sunglasses he was unable to read his ASI and also lost external visual references. The pilot stated that he maintained the sideslip approach. The aircraft touched down short of the runway, the tail striking the top of the fence adjacent to the fields. The nose impacted the barbed wire boundary fence and the aircraft came to rest. The pilot was wearing a full harness and helmet, and escaped uninjured.
Published 10 December 2014