Plane crashed through fence into County Derry field following ‘uneventful flight’

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A small plane crashed through a fence and into a field after landing at the Causeway Airfield on the banks of the River Bann in August following an “uneventful flight” from Cumbria, an accident report has revealed.

Three passengers were on board the Piper PA-28-181 Cherokee Archer II, G-RNCH, during the botched landing at the airfield between Aghadowey and Ballymoney on August 17 at 8am.

The left wingtip, wing leading edge and propeller were all damaged in the accident but neither the passengers nor the 60-year-old pilot were hurt.

The Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) reported this morning: “Following an uneventful flight and approach to land, the aircraft touched down on the grass strip.

“The pilot advised that the weather was calm and the grass was still wet with morning dew and he was aware that this would have a detrimental effect on braking distance.

“The left main wheel touched first, followed by the right main wheel and then the nose wheel.

“The pilot realised that the aircraft was tracking to the left, rather than along the runway. He progressively applied more rudder and right brake, but by this time the left wheel had entered the long grass at the edge of the runway.”

It was shortly after touching down on the long grass that the aircraft spun off through the airfield fence and into a field.

“The additional drag pulled the aircraft further to the left and it ran through a wire fence, before coming to rest in an adjacent field,” the AAIB reported.

“The aircraft operator advised that no pre-accident defects were identified with the aircraft’s landing gear,” it added.