Fatal Accident involving a DG-300 Elan (G-CKJH) near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, 7 July 2022
At the end of a gliding day, the pilot decided to land in a field. The field he chose was uphill with a rough surface, which the pilot had not fully appreciated until he had committed to the landing. On the first touchdown, the aircraft landed heavily and bounced.
The aircraft ended up in a stock fence and the pilot felt his neck had been injured. He was able to extract himself from the aircraft, but after a few steps, he began to lose feeling in his limbs and fell to the ground.
Having been discovered by the landowner, he was flown by air ambulance to hospital, where he had a vertebrae fracture and a large haematoma pressing on his spinal cord. Despite recovering feeling in his limbs, complications from his injuries and underlying health conditions led to the pilot’s death 20 days later.
The investigation found no defects to the aircraft and given the experience of the pilot, the choice of field was out of character. However, the position of the sun, the size and colour of the other fields as well as the possibility of dehydration during a warm day may have contributed to the pilot’s decision making.