A de Havilland vintage aircraft with nine people on board pitched on landing because of a deflated tyre, an investigation found. The 1943 de Havilland Dragon Rapide was being used for short commercial flights ahead of an air show display at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, on 19 June. A report by the Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) found the tyre caused the plane to „decelerate rapidly and pitch onto its nose“. Eight passengers and the pilot were led to safety uninjured, the report added.
Investigators found the experienced 53-year-old pilot had recorded an earlier flight without incident as well as a normal take-off on the second flight. There had been a „significant crosswind“ on the second approach to the runway at Duxford, just before 09:30 BST. The pilot described the landing as a „not particularly heavy touchdown though with a bit of a skip“, the report said, with the tips of both propellers striking the runway. The report said: „On landing, the aircraft decelerated rapidly and unexpectedly. „It pitched onto its nose and exited the runway to the right. It was later discovered that the right main landing gear tyre had deflated either in flight or on touchdown.“ The cockpit, front fuselage and propellers were badly damaged in the crash.
All the passengers were directed to leave the aircraft by ladder through a rear cabin door which was „a significant distance above the ground“, the report said. Investigators found a tear and two puncture marks in an inner tube of a tyre. The crash outcome was „consistent with the expected effects of landing with a deflated right main tyre“, it concluded. About 20,000 people attended the two-day air show at Duxford, enjoying highlights including a fly-past by the Red Arrows. Source: ‚BBC, British Broadcasting Company‚.