Beds, Herts & Bucks

Buckinghamshire gyrocopter stalled after being refuelled from 'old' petrol can

Entrance to Oakley Airfield Image copyright Google
Image caption The gyrocopter had just taken off from Oakley Airfield in Buckinghamshire when its engine failed 50ft (15m) in the air

A gyrocopter stalled mid-air after it was filled with petrol from an old fuel can, a report has said.

The aircraft had just taken off from Oakley Airfield, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, when its engine stopped 50ft (15m) above the ground.

The pilot, 67, suffered bruising and minor leg injuries after the gyrocopter bounced and rolled over on landing.

It was suspected the fuel was "probably contaminated", according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

The pilot, who had 300 hours' flying experience, was the only person on board the new aircraft when it crashed in daylight in August.

In its report, the AAIB said the unleaded petrol for the helicopter-like craft had been stored in a metal jerry can, which had been "used for a number of years".

The pilot had "concerns" about the colour of the fuel, but after checking the "flammability of a small sample" he "convinced himself it was good".

However, the agency noted in its report that the pilot now believed the fuel was "probably contaminated causing the engine to stop and... he let the airspeed drop below the recommended landing speed".

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