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A photo of the incident. AAIU

Empty plane crashed into electric fence at Tipperary airfield after pilot 'was in a hurry to get airborne'

The plane hit a boundary hedge and overturned, coming to rest upside down on an electric fence in a neighbouring field.

AN EMPTY PLANE crashed into an electric fence and was completely destroyed after the pilot was “in a hurry to get airborne”.

That is according to a report by the Air Accident Investigations Unit (AAIU) published today. The report outlines the circumstances of the 5 July accident at the private Mullinahone Airfield in Tipperary.

According to the report the 54-year-old pilot, who has over 400 hours experience flying, had intended performing a flight to Sligo Airport. He took the 1958 Coopavia Piel CP301A aircraft from the hangar to hand-start the engine by swinging the propeller. This meant he was outside the plane at the time.

However, he set the throttle to “a higher than the usual setting” and turned the engine on. He had failed to put chocks on the wheels, causing the plane’s engine to start and the plane to start moving around 70 metres across the airfield.

The plane hit a boundary hedge and overturned, coming to rest upside down on an electric fence in a neighbouring field. The pilot said that fuel began leaking from the aircraft, and that the electric fence may have acted as a source of ignition for the fuel spillage. The fuel ignited and the aircraft was destroyed. There were no injuries.

In his submission to the AAIU, the pilot said he had been “in somewhat of a hurry to get airborne” and had set the throttle “a little too high”.

In its comment, the AAIU says it is aware of a number of similar incidents in the past, including one fatal incident in Australia. It said that general safety guidelines suggest that chocks or ties be used, brakes be set and engine controls be normal.

The AAIU, however, welcomed the pilot’s assistance and his willingness to have the incident highlighted for safety purposes.

The pilot, who is a member of the UK Light Aircraft Association, informed the AAIU that he had passed on details of the accident to them, and agreed for this report to be reproduced in a future edition of their monthly periodical, Light Aviation.

“He also agreed for the report to be circulated for safety awareness purposes in Ireland by the General Aviation Safety Council of Ireland (GASCI).”

Read: UK aviation watchdog launches action against Ryanair for ‘persistently misleading passengers’

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