A Lifford-registered light aircraft got into a bit of a spin when it tried to land in Enniskillen after flying south from Letterkenny last October, it’s emerged.
Thankfully, neither the 73-year-old pilot nor the single passenger on board were injured although damage was caused to the right main landing gear, propeller and right wing.
The pair were flying a 66-year-old Piper PA-16 light aircraft when they got into difficulty when trying to land.
The London Department of Transport’s Air Accident Investigations’ Branch (AAIB), released details of what happened on Thursday, January 14.
On October 3, 2015, at about 1.30pm the vastly-experienced pilot had successfully flown from Donegal to Fermanagh without incident but went into a spin as soon as it landed.
The AAIB said: “The aircraft was landing on Runway 15 at Enniskillen, having flown in from Letterkenny Airfield, County Donegal.
“Following an approach which was ‘entirely stable in terms of height and speed’, the aircraft touched down but immediately ground-looped to the right, coming to rest with the right main landing gear collapsed inwards underneath the fuselage.”
A ground-loop in aviation occurs when an aircraft goes into a horizontal spin on a runway.
The Lifford Piper, apparently, began to slip to the right hand side as soon as it touched down.
According to the AAIB: “Examination showed that several structural elements of the right main landing gear had broken, apparently in overload, consistent with right sideslip being present at touchdown.
“The pilot is unsure whether the ground loop occurred as a result of the collapse or had precipitated the collapse.
“He suggested that the right brake may have been locked on for some reason, although the wheel was found to rotate normally.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the same bulletin, the AAIB refers to a collision between an unmanned aircraft and a small plane in Shoreham in the South of England, last April.
“A Robin DR400 (F-GSBM) was descending on base leg to land on Runway 20 at Shoreham when its right wing struck a radio-controlled model glider.
“The Robin suffered minor damage and landed safely. The pilot of the Robin had not seen the glider and the pilot of the glider had not heard or seen the Robin approaching until it was too late to take avoiding action,” the AAIB said.
The Civil Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency are currently considering new regulations on the operation of small light-weight unmanned aircraft.