Pilot reveals plane-crash drama

FLIGHT FRIGHT -- A Cessna 120 model, similar to this, was forced to crash-land at Hucknall Airfield
FLIGHT FRIGHT -- A Cessna 120 model, similar to this, was forced to crash-land at Hucknall Airfield
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A PILOT has given an exclusive account of the dramatic moment he was forced to crash-land his aircraft in a Hucknall field.

The man, who is in his 50s, has asked the Dispatch to preserve his anonymity and that of his co-pilot.

But both are lucky to be alive. And now, the pilot has spoken for the first time about the moment he was at the controls of a doomed Cessna 120 single-engine plane that smashed into the turf at Hucknall Airfield, off Watnall Road.

The small aircraft was embarking on a routine flight on Thursday June 2 just before midday.

But soon after take-off, the Cessna, which it is understood dates back to the 1950s, was in trouble as the engine began to fail.

“On climbing, an engine fault occurred which demanded instant action,” said the pilot.

“The decision to return and land was taken. But during this procedure, the engine failed completely.

“Emergency actions had to be adopted. That is to select the nearest, safest field away from any danger that presented itself to the public and crew.”

Luckily, the aircraft didn’t flip over and landed the correct way up — thanks to the skills of the pilot.

The pilot and his crew member, who is also understood to be in his 50s, escaped the drama with minor back-injuries and cuts and bruises.

Damage was inflicted to the plane’s undercarriage.

First on the scene were security officers and firefighters from the nearby Rolls-Royce plant.

The Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance was dispatched but the men from the Cessna were taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham by road.

They were discharged later that day.

The pilot added: “The crew and Merlin Flying Club would like to reiterate our thanks to all of the emergency services.”

Both men are members of the long-running Merlin Flying Club, which has been based at Hucknall Airfield for more than 90 years. It has an excellent safety-record.

The Cessna involved in the emergency landing has been based at Hucknall for more than 22 years and is owned by a syndicate of flying enthusiasts.

The pilot has more than 30 years’ flying experience.

The airfield where the crash happened will played host to the annual Hucknall air show on Saturday (June 11).Both the Merlin club and those who were on board the Cessna must now supply a report to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). A decision will then be taken on whether a full investigation must be launched.