York & North Yorkshire

Rufforth plane crash pilot 'needed toilet'

A 71-year-old pilot crashed his light aircraft in North Yorkshire when he was distracted by needing to go to the toilet, an official report has said.

The plane clipped a tree and nosedived to the ground at Rufforth airfield near York on 7 June, said an Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) bulletin.

The pilot had "allowed his need for a toilet call to blur his concentration", the report said.

He was taken to hospital with minor head and wrist injuries.

Concentration 'blurred'

His Jabiru UL aircraft sustained damage to a wing and the landing gear.

The accident report said that, having eaten a light meal and downed two mugs of tea, the pilot had taken off from Husbands Bosworth in Leicestershire.

After 45 minutes he decided he might need a toilet call but had already passed three landing sites he visited regularly.

He was considering landing at Breighton in North Yorkshire but decided that, with only 15 minutes to go, he would continue on to Rufforth.

The AAIB report said the pilot came in to land at Rufforth "with the toilet call still on his mind".

He was lining the plane up and then "remembered nothing else until he was crawling out of the aircraft".

Witnesses saw the aircraft clip a tree at about 50ft (15m) on final approach and "nosedive" into the ground.

The report said: "The pilot commented in his frank report that he considered a major causal factor in the accident to be that he allowed his need for a toilet call to blur his concentration during the final approach."

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