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Accident description
Last updated: 19 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 20 February 1982
Time:12:55 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic BN2P model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Britten-Norman BN-2A-9 Islander
Operator:Army Parachute Association
Registration: G-BBRP
C/n / msn: 371
First flight: 1973
Total airframe hrs:5466
Engines: 2 Lycoming O-540-E
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 8
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 9
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Netheravon, Wiltshire (   United Kingdom)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:Parachuting
Departure airport:Netheravon Airport (EGDN), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Netheravon Airport (EGDN), United Kingdom
Narrative:
On 14 February 1982 a 'one thousand hour' inspection was carried out on the Islander aircraft, G-BBRP, at Shobdon aerodrome , Herefordshire. After this inspection the aircraft was fuelled to capacity, in preparation for an air test for the renewal of the Certificate of Airworthiness. The air test was satisfactory in all respects and included a 5-minute check, per side, that the fuel flow and cross-feeding operation of the aircraft's wing tip tanks operated normally. At all other times during the air test, the aircraft was flown with the fuel supply selected from the main tanks. On 16 February 1982 the aircraft was delivered to Netheravon aerodrome. After arrival at Netheravon, two further flights were carried out: the first an acceptance air check, the second a parachute drop. Both these flights and the delivery flight were carried out with the fuel supply selected from the main tanks.
On 18 February the aircraft was used to fly four parachute dropping flights. On this occasion, before the first flight, the pilot was reminded that the wing tip tanks were still nearly full. As it was normal practice to run the contents of the wing tip tanks down to a total of 13 1/2 US gallons per side, and to conserve this amount until it was required to be used due to low contents in the main tanks, the pilot flew all these sorties with the fuel supply selected from the wing tip tanks. By the end of the day a total of 40 minutes flying time had been completed and, as the pilot did not consider that the wing tip tank contents had been sufficiently reduced, after engine shut down he deliberately left the fuel supply selected from wing tip tanks in order to draw the attention of the succeeding pilot to further reduce the contents of the tip tanks on the next flight.
The next flight occurred on 20 February when the pilot subsequently involved in the accident arrived at Netheravon aerodrome to carry out the day's flying in the Islander aircraft. As it was a weekend, there were no engineering staff present, and the pilot carried out his own pre-flight inspection of the aircraft. Whilst these checks included the normal fuel and water drain checks, the contents of the wing tip tanks were not checked by dipstick nor was he fully certain which fuel tanks were selected. The weather at the start of the day's activities was considered marginal for parachute dropping, and so the pilot first flew a weather check. During this flight, on checking the cloud base, the pilot reported encountering light airframe icing. Later in the morning the weather improved and the aircraft took off for a further weather check, this time with a load of parachutists on board. The weather proved satisfactory and a successful drop was achieved. The aircraft then landed and the engines were shut down. At this time, according to the pilot, the aircraft's main fuel gauges were indicating 35 US gallons port, 30 US gallons starboard, and the tip tanks three-quarters full by gauge reading.
At 12:50 hrs the pilot restarted the engines and completed the run up checks, which included a check of the operation of the carburettor selection to hot air. As this flight was to be a drop of student parachutists, the ground running time whilst the parachutists boarded the aircraft was slightly longer than usual and, at about 12:55 hrs, the aircraft commenced the takeoff run.
The pilot reported that shortly after takeoff, at a height of about 50 feet above ground level and at an airspeed of 73 knots, he detected a loss of power from the port engine. He stated that he selected the flaps up and that, as he was about to commence the shut down and propeller feathering drills for the port engine, the starboard engine lost all power. The pilot then lowered the nose of the aircraft with the intention of landing straight ahead. From a low height, with a high sink rate, he was unable to reduce the rate of descent sufficiently to prevent a heavy landing. At no time did he hear the stall warning. The aircraft slid for a total distance of 72 metres before coming to rest on its belly, with both wings severely twisted nose down near their root ends. All the occupants vacated the aircraft without injury. When it became apparent that there was no danger of fire, the pilot supervised the crash and rescue personnel in the removal of the aircraft's battery and then himself re-entered the cockpit to complete the shut down checks. During these checks, in attempting to shut off the fuel cocks, he was able to select the starboard fuel cock to OFF, but the port fuel cock jammed in an intermediate setting.

Probable Cause:

CAUSE: "The accident was caused by the fact that the pilot was unable to reduce the aircraft's rate of descent sufficiently to prevent a heavy landing. Contributory factors were the loss of all power from the port engine due to fuel mismanagement and the pilot's decision initially to attempt to continue the take-off."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: AAR 7/1982
Download report: Final report


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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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