Beds, Herts & Bucks

Padbury fatal air crash: AAIB says pilot sent text message

Site of Padbury aircraft crash
Image caption Those who met the pilot on the day of his death described him as 'chatty, friendly and relaxed'

A pilot sent a text message saying he had lost control and his aircraft was "going down" shortly before it crashed, it has emerged.

The 60-year-old was the only person on board and died at the scene when the Piper Tomahawk plane crashed near Padbury in Buckinghamshire last August.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) was unable to find what caused his downward spiral into a field.

The AAIB's report found no evidence the craft was faulty.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Police officers and air accident investigators at the scene of the crash near Padbury

Investigators could not explain how the unnamed pilot remained airborne for two minutes after sending the text message to a relative that he was going down.

The pilot had set off from White Waltham Airfield, near High Wycombe, and was heading northwards when he started to fly in a circular pattern for almost an hour. During this time he made a number of telephone calls.

The AAIB said the pilot then tried to telephone a relative 25 seconds before sending the text message but the call "did not connect".

The pilot, who had more than 3,000 hours of flying time and a commercial pilot's licence, broadcast a Mayday call two minutes after sending the text.

Those who met him on the day of his death described him as "chatty, friendly and relaxed", the report said.

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