Basingstoke glider crash pilot 'may have been unconscious'

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Southwood Farm LaneImage source, Google
Image caption,
The pilot died when the aircraft she was piloting came down in a field in Southwood Farm Lane, near Basingstoke

A woman who died after the glider she was in crashed in a field in Hampshire may have suffered a medical episode, an air accident report has said.

Kay Draper, of Marlborough, Wiltshire, died when the aircraft she was piloting came down in a field near Basingstoke on 21 July last year.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said she was an experienced pilot and seemed fit and well.

However, a pathologist said there was a possibility she had lost consciousness.

The report said Mrs Draper, 60, had a family history of cardiac problems and had reported having heart palpitations two weeks prior to the flight.

On the day of the flight, the tug pilot who towed Mrs Draper's aircraft said he had seen the powered glider moving from side to side and up and down at about 500ft. However, the pilot did not report a problem and released the tow at 2,000ft.

'Jettisoning the canopy'

The report said Mrs Draper had been called on the radio by her husband who was flying his own glider and indicated she was "climbing up nicely".

One witness in Lasham reported seeing the aircraft from his garden "spiralling downwards" before disappearing from view.

A second witness said he heard a noise coming from the glider to suggest the engine was stuttering before hearing a bang, which led him to believe it had hit the ground.

The plane - an ASG 29E glider, which also has an engine - crashed in a corn field west of Lasham airfield

Instruments that would have logged the flight were too damaged to recover any data but the report said there had been "no evidence of a technical malfunction" and "no evidence the pilot was in the process of jettisoning the canopy".

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