Plane crash near Corby caused by mid-air stall, investigation finds

A pilot had a lucky escape after his plane crashed into trees near Corby, an investigation has found.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 6:00 am
The wreckage of the plane.

An air accident report concluded the man in control of the burgundy 1973 Midget Mustang had limited time to recover when the plane stalled mid-air on the afternoon of July 21 this year.

The pilot, a 56-year-old man, was flying from Leicester Airfield to Sibson Airfield and on the way he flew over Spanhoe Airfield, near Laxton, to check the windsock and decide whether he was going to land there to visit friends.

He flew overhead at about 600 to 700ft and then pulled up and banked left.

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But the next thing he could remember was hitting a tree canopy as he landed in a wooded area.

A wing and the plane's nose were smashed to pieces as the aircraft was destroyed.

The pilot - who had more than 600 hours of flying experience - suffered serious leg injuries and was airlifted to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham after being helped by fire crews from Corby and Northampton. At the time police said it was expected he would make a good recovery.

An investigation report said: "The Midget Mustang has a published stall speed of 60mph in the clean configuration at its maximum gross weight. A pull-up and steep banking manoeuvre would considerably increase the stalling speed due to the increased load factor.

"Additionally, if power was not increased, the aircraft would also slow because of the pull-up and the increased drag due to the increased lift needed to maintain the turn.

"It seems most likely that the final manoeuvre increased the aircraft’s stall speed to, or beyond the aircraft’s airspeed which caused it to stall and the pilot to lose control of the aircraft with limited height available to recover before the aircraft struck the trees."

One runway remains in operation at the airfield, which was was formerly an RAF and USAF air base. A number of of privately-owned aircrafts are based there.

In 2017 the pilot of an Auster AOP9 died and his passenger was seriously injured after their plane stalled near the airfield at low altitude. It burst into flames when it hit the ground.