The light aircraft, which landed in the middle of a road near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, recently experienced engine problems during pilot training.
This was revealed in the SA Civil Aviation Authority’s preliminary report dated 1 June Emergency landing cleared on Friday. The aircraft took off from Cape Town International Airport bound for Stellenbosch Airport.
It encountered engine problems in mid-air and landed on the R44 road. The aircraft was destroyed in the accident and both the flight instructor and the student pilot were injured. According to the report, the plane underwent a pre-flight inspection that found no anomalies. But the “engine stuttered” after the student practiced the landing.
“The instructor checked the engine gauges and noticed an unusual increase in fuel flow,” the report said.
The instructor then took control of the aircraft and began troubleshooting by resetting the power and mixture controls, turning on the electric fuel pump, changing tanks and checking magnetos. There was no change in the aircraft’s engine power except when full power was applied, resulting in engine stalling.
“The instructor decided to make an emergency landing, but could not identify a suitable field as the aircraft was flying very deep. He then assessed the R44 road in front of him and committed to landing on it as that was the only area available for the aircraft to land. Traffic on the road gave way to the aircraft except for a car that had stopped in the left lane.”
As the instructor tried to avoid the stationary car, the left wing crashed into a traffic sign pole. “The aircraft yawed to the left and immediately pitched down causing the aircraft to land nose first.” It skidded approximately 100 feet before coming to a stop.
“The left wing hit the leading edge damaged, which had been torn off towards the end of the wing tip. Fuel also leaked in the leading edge. The landing gear was found to be damaged,” the investigation found.
“The investigation revealed that the engine and nose section were displaced up and behind the aircraft. The carburetor contained no fuel because it was damaged on impact. The accident was deemed survivable as no damage was caused to the aircraft’s cockpit and cabin structure.”
The preliminary report shows the student pilot was in compliance and the 51-year-old aircraft was airworthy.< /p>
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