Plane crash landed at Welshpool airport after door opened during training flight, report finds

The plane landed at Mid Wales Airport in Welshpool, Powys. Credit: Google Maps

A light aircraft with a learner pilot and their trainer on board struck a hedge when it landed in Welshpool after the plane door opened during the flight.

It happened in July last year, leaving the 54-year-old Piper PA-28-180 plane with “substantial damage” to the propeller and landing gear. Fortunately, both crew members were unhurt in the incident.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch found approximately ten minutes into the training flight, the main door started to open and the instructor made several unsuccessful attempts to close it.

The plane lost altitude while approaching the runway at Mid Wales Airport in Welshpool and ended up hitting a hedge as it landed.

The instructor was undertaking her first instructional flight, a trial lesson with a plannedlanding at the Welshpool airport.

While holding the door closed, the trainer explained the approach procedure to the student, who lined the plane up with the runway centreline.

The report added: “The instructor reported that approximately 150 metres from the runway the aircraft lost lift and dropped, losing altitude. Full power was immediately applied and the aircraft was pitched-up but it kept descending.

"The main landing gear struck a hedge in the undershoot and detached. The aircraft came to rest about 200 metres from the hedge and beside the runway.”

The report says that the operating handbook did not include a procedure for an open door in flight, although later versions now do.

The Civil Aviation Authority "Skyway Code", describes an open door as a distraction and risk that could lead to a loss of control. It states : “The most important message is to fly the aircraft."