Aircraft crashed because pilot was trying to avoid birds

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A pilot whose plane came off the runway at Oban Airport aborted take off  after spotting low flying birds above the runway, says an air accident report.

None of the three people and the dog on board the private light aircraft were hurt in the crash, which happened on July 13 last year – all four got out before help arrived.

The 53-year-old pilot, who had 1,244 hours flying experience, became worried during the take off because of low-level birds at the end of the runway and chose to abandon it.

At that point, the indicated airspeed was above the normal take off speed said the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report.

The 15-year-old plane failed to stop, overran the runway and struck the airfield’s boundary fence at about five knots before ending up in bushes just before the shoreline.

The pilot, who had flown 19 hours in the previous 28 days, said in his own report to the AAIB that he believed the brakes overheated and stopped working in the last 25m of the runway.

The flight was on its way to Shoreham in Kent and had been close to its maximum takeoff weight, the pilot had backtracked to use the full length of the runway.

The pilot told the investigation, in his view, the aircraft performance was ‘very poor’ at lift off so when he saw the birds ahead he became concerned the plane would not be able to climb above them and decided to stop.

The report’s official conclusion was: ‘Distracted by the presence of birds over the end of the runway the pilot made a decision to abort the take off at high speed but was unable to stop before overrunning the end of the
runway.’