AAIB investigation to Vans RV-4, G-NADZ

Engine failure, Tibenham Airfield, Norfolk, 31 March 2014.


Since 13 October 2013, the pilot and G-NADZ had only flown for 45 minutes when three days before the accident the pilot carried out the annual air test on the aircraft during which he flew a number of circuits.

On the day of the accident the pilot intended to fly a number of circuits at Tibenham Airfield before repositioning the aircraft to another airfield. The aircraft had sufficient fuel onboard and prior to the first takeoff, from Runway 08, the engine power check was carried out and found to be satisfactory. The first circuit, which culminated in a full stop landing, was completed without incident. The pilot back-tracked down the runway and took off to fly a second circuit. The acceleration was normal and as the aircraft reached a height of approximately 100 to 150 ft the pilot raised the flaps and at about the same time the engine stopped, though the propeller continued to windmill. Immediately ahead of the aircraft was a field containing crops, with the furrows at approximately 90º to the runway heading. The pilot was concerned that if he attempted to land in this field the aircraft might flip onto its back and given that the aircraft had a bubble canopy he risked being trapped with the possible danger of the aircraft catching fire. He therefore made a left turn with the intention of landing on the grassed area of the airfield. The pilot completed the turn, and the wings were level, when the aircraft struck the ground with a high sink rate sufficient to cause the accelerometer on the aircraft to register 8 g. The aircraft bounced once and came to rest approximately 25 ft from the initial touchdown point. The pilot was assisted from the aircraft by a number of individuals at the airfield and taken to hospital by ambulance where he was found to have sustained extensive bruising.

The aircraft was extensively damaged with both mainwheels having been pushed into the lower surface of the wings, the engine and propeller were also damaged and the skin in the fuselage was creased. The damage was assessed as being beyond economic repair. The cause of the engine failure was not established.

Download report:

Vans RV-4 G-NADZ 07-14.pdf (138.46 kb)

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