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Pilot was practicing ‘limbo’ manoeuvre prior to crashing in Upminster

The G-ARGZ struck the ground and broke apart last October (Credit: Air Accidents Investigation Branch)

A pilot was practicing a ‘limbo’ manoeuvre when he crashed in Upminster last year, a new report has found. 

The display team at Damyns Hall Aerodrome was learning a new technique, which involved the aircraft flying under a string of bunting suspended between two poles, when the incident happened on Saturday, 16 October. 

As one of three new pilots flew through the limbo gate the plane pitched nose-down and hit the ground, breaking the main spar. The wings folded upwards and the remains of the aircraft were scattered across the ground. 

The 44-year-old pilot was taken to hospital having sustained serious injuries, including a head wound. He was released 72 hours later. 

Pictures of the crash (Credit: Air Accidents Investigations Branch)

The pilot later told investigators he believed he was flying slightly too high as he approached the limbo gate and instinctively pitched down. 

“The aircraft probably struck the ground before he had time to realise the effect of the pitch input,” read a report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the government. 

It found the display leader briefed the team on how to fly the manoeuvre before the incident and spoke to them individually as well. The weather on the day was benign. 

A pilot who flew the aircraft earlier in the day reported that it had been performing well with no problems. It was examined after the crash and no evidence of any preexisting defects was found. 

The flying club also carried out an internal review following the crash.

It decided future new pilots will have to practice flying along the runway to become familiar with flying the aircraft at low level and high speed prior to doing the limbo manoeuvre. 

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