Runaway aircraft takes off without pilot at vintage airshow

April 7th, 2009 - 5:54 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 7 (ANI): A runaway aircraft reportedly took off on its own when the pilot was not able to get into the cockpit after swinging the front propeller.

The incident on April 5 left hundreds of visitors at the airshow horrified, when the classic biplane ran in circles on the ground at speeds of up to 60mph before taking off and flying on its own for 200m.

The plane then crashed into trees at the edge of Goodwood airfield, and it is believed that had it cleared the trees, it could have flown for around 150 miles on a full tank of fuel.

The aircraft, a 1940 model built in the style of a Tiger Moth, had foam sprayed on it by Goodwood staff to stop it from catching fire after the crash.

The Stampe was one of a number of aircraft at the airfield for the Goodwood Breakfast Club, a monthly event which displays vintage cars, motorbikes and aircraft for enthusiasts.

Malcolm Phillips, 67, of Emsworth, Hants, was at the event and took pictures of the plane coming down to the ground behind the trees.

“There were hundreds of people there watching as the plane ran amok, haring round in circles,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

“We didn’t know which way it was going to go and it was worrying that it could head towards the crowd, other planes or the clubhouse,” he said.

Phillips said that he thought that there were about 400 people watching when the plane took off at 11am on Sunday.

“Normally the idea is that you swing the propellers and have the handbrake on and chocks under the wheels,” he said.

“You also need to make sure the throttle is only set at low revs.

“Something clearly went wrong and it jumped over the chocks - I suspect what might have happened is that the throttle became loose,” he added. (ANI)

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