This is a short precis of the latest AAIB Bulletin for September 2016.
Sadly one of the accidents in the September report includes a fatality. Tiredness and pilot ability seem to be major factors in this accident when the pilot lost control during a go around.
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During the go-around, the elevator control system problems distracted the crew so they did not follow the standard go-around procedure resulting in late retraction of the gear and flaps.
PRE FLIGHT PLANNING INCLUDING AIRCRAFT PERFORMANCE
The pilot was attempting to take off from a mown strip of grass perpendicular to, and north of the asphalt runway at Strubby Airfield (Figure 1). When he realised he would not clear the hedge at the end, he turned to avoid it and the aircraft impacted the ground. The pilot referred to the strip as Runway 36, but the airfield owner advised that it was not a designated runway. It was in fact half the length required for safe take off!
A gear up landing was made. The pilot attributed the incident to his failure to action the before-landing checklist, possibly because he was distracted by the partial radio transmissions
As the warning horn sounded, the instructor announced, “i have control” and attempted to level the helicopter. The student pilot appeared not to release the controls immediately which, combined with the very limited time available, meant that the instructor was unable to regain controlled level flight before the main rotor blades struck the ground.
The aircraft landed heavily, damaging the landing gear and propeller.
The pilot concluded that the canopy had been left unlocked and he had not identified the error because he did not check the locks before takeoff. He considered that he had not taken enough time to ensure the pre-takeoff checks were properly carried out and that given the break due to airfield closure, the checks should have be started again from the beginning.
PRIVATE GRASS AIRFIELD APPRECIATION
Threats = Long Grass-Wet Grass-No Notams-No ATC- Casual Unregulated Enviroment
Errors = Situational Awareness – Lack of Pre Flight PPO Briefing including runway state
The pilot had visited Mitton Farm Airstrip previously and considered that, for the accident landing, the grass was “much longer than normal” and that this, combined with the surface being damp from recent rain, had contributed to the loss of directional control