Runaway microlight suffered power-surge say crash investigators

A MICROLIGHT engine immediately ran to full power before the pilot abandoned it, according to a new accident report.

In March this year, 44-year-old trainee pilot Paul Carvell, of Blyth, broke his leg and damaged ligaments at Eshott Airfield as he jumped from the microlight, which crashed into a fence and caught fire.

The report, released by the Air Accident Investigation Branch this month, states: “Part of the pre-start checks was to ensure the hand-operated throttle was closed and the foot-operated throttle was clear.

“However, on pulling the start cord, the engine started and immediately ran up to full power.

“The brakes were applied but did not prevent the aircraft moving forward. The pilot manipulated the throttle control but without obvious effect.

“As the pilot was not intending to fly straight away, he was not strapped in or wearing a protective helmet. With the aircraft accelerating towards a hangar, he chose to abandon it rather than risk injury if it struck the hangar.

“He threw himself out of the left side, sustaining a broken leg and torn ligaments when the aircraft’s left wheel ran over his right knee.

“The aircraft missed the hangar but continued and became airborne. Footage from a CCTV camera showed the microlight climbing steeply before stalling and entering a dive.

“It then performed a low-level looping manoeuvre, striking the ground at relatively high speed before the manoeuvre was completed.

“The aircraft was destroyed in the accident and a wire fence was also damaged.

“A small fire broke out, causing localised damage to an area of grass and small trees.”