Satnav directed crash pilot to airfield that 'does not exist', investigators say

Updated: 

A pilot crashed his light aircraft after a satnav directed him to an airfield that "does not appear to exist", accident investigators said.

The 53-year-old man was attempting to fly to a landing strip in rural Aberdeenshire which was listed on the database of his Garmin GPS navigation device, according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

Upon reaching the destination he could not see anywhere to land and lost control after conducting three orbits of the area at low altitude in search of the non-existent airfield.

The plane plummeted to the ground, striking a wall and flipping over.

The pilot, who holds a US flying licence, and his passenger escaped from the crash on June 23 last year uninjured. The aircraft suffered "substantial damage".

Their flight began around 40 miles away at Forfar, Angus, with an intended destination of a landing strip near Alford, which the AAIB said was "not a recognised airfield".

Accident investigators were told by Garmin that the location was "not in the current database" for its navigation devices.

The AAIB report concluded: "The airfield that the pilot was attempting to locate does not appear to exist."