Pilot has miraculous escape after aircraft crashes into hay bales near Driffield

The accident happened on 25 June last year Credit: MEN Media

A pilot had a miraculous escape after his light aircraft crashed into a huge stack of hay bales shortly after take-off.

The man was taking off from an air strip at his farm in Hutton Cranswick near Driffield last year, heading to Beverley Airfield in a Savannah VG small aircraft when it struck a bump.

The jolt caused the pilot’s knee to touch the flap lever and resulted in the plane stalling shortly after take-off.

Fortunately, the plane crashed into a 30ft stack of hay bales on a farm and despite the plane ending up a crumpled wreck, the 38-year-old pilot walked away with minor injuries.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch carried out an investigation and has now published a report into the accident on June 25 last year.

The plane crashed shortly after take off Credit: MEN Media

The report says: “The pilot had prepared for a local evening flight from his home farm strip to Beverley Airfield and, after completing the pre-flight checks, he lined the aircraft up on an easterly heading to take off into a light wind.

"Approximately two thirds along the ground roll, the pilot reported that he felt one of the main wheels strike a bump which caused his knee to touch the flap lever.

"The flaps then deployed to full flaps of 40 degrees. The aircraft started to climb at very low speed and was close to stalling.

"To avoid a stall, the pilot lowered the nose, but was conscious that he needed to maintain enough height to avoid the power lines at the end of the strip."

While the pilot managed to avoid the power lines there was little he could do to avoid the plane crashing.

The report says: “Having cleared the power lines he reported that he felt the left wing starting to stall and so applied left rudder and lowered the nose further.

"The aircraft veered to the left and struck a stack of hay bales at approximately 10 m above the ground. It then struck the ground tail first before coming to rest.

"The pilot was able to turn off the fuel before exiting the aircraft with only minor injuries."

The AAIB found there was no defect to the flap mechanism but knocking the lever by accident it would have created a sudden increase in lift and drag, thereby reducing the stall speed.

The AAIB concluded that the inadvertent flap deployment due to the knee knocking the lever as the plane hit the bump was the cause of the crash.