Dorset

Dorset biplane crash: Pilot tells court 'rudder pedal jammed'

Scene of the plane crash Image copyright bbc
Image caption The Tiger Moth crashed in a field at Witchampton, Dorset, in May 2011

A biplane pilot has told a court the crash that killed his passenger was caused by a jammed rudder pedal.

Scott Hoyle denies the manslaughter of Orlando Rogers, who died when the aircraft crashed in a Dorset field.

Mr Hoyle, 48, from Poole, broke down in the witness box as he described the moments leading up to the Tiger Moth crash near Witchampton in May 2011.

The former Royal Marine denied he was deliberately performing a loop when his controls stopped responding.

Mr Rogers, 26, also a former Royal Marine, had taken a flight with Mr Hoyle as he had hoped to take an aerial photograph of his offices near Broadstone.

The jury at Winchester Crown Court was shown photographs taken on Mr Rogers' camera before the flight, from outside and inside the cockpit.

Air traffic control in Bournemouth told Mr Hoyle airspace around Broadstone was too full so he decided to return to Compton Abbas.

Image caption Scott Hoyle told jurors his right rudder pedal became jammed during the flight

The pilot recalled how the biplane began to spin downwards after he attempted to make a tight left turn using his stick and left rudder pedal.

As he tried to move back to the right, the right rudder pedal became jammed under his foot. The plane then flipped upside down and began to spin downwards.

Mr Hoyle said Mr Rogers told him: "Scotty, that's amazing.

He said he replied: "'Orlando, my rudder pedal is jammed, can you see anything?' He said, 'No, I can't.'"

Mr Hoyle added: "Quite frankly, I thought 'I'm going to die', as you don't live from a spin."

The prosecution contests the pilot's version of events.

Michael Bowes QC accused him of attempting to performing an aerobatic loop, too low in the sky, and with a passenger who was "too heavy".

Mr Bowes said he was "not competent to carry out such a manoeuvre".

The trial continues.

Image copyright family handout
Image caption Orlando Rogers served as an officer with the Royal Marines for six years

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