Aircraft crashed through fence and into bushes after pilot’s bid to avoid birds

An aircraft crashed into a fence and ended up in bushes after the pilot tried to avoid a flock of birds on a runway.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) March bulletin revealed the incident happened at Oban Airport, Argyll and Bute, on July 13 last year.

During the takeoff roll the sole crew member, on board with two passengers and a dog, noticed the flock of birds on the end of the runway and attempted to abort.

The Extra 400 aircraft, which was heading to Shoreham, overran and struck the airfield boundary fence before stopping in an area of bushes before the shoreline.

Nobody on board was injured in the incident and they all exited the aircraft before the Rescue and Fire Fighting Service arrived.

The report said: “The pilot stated that, in his view, aircraft performance was very poor at the lift-off speed indicated in the (Pilots Operating Handbook) and that he always used higher speeds.

“At approximately 80 (knots) the pilot became aware of a flock of birds at low level over the end of the runway.

“He was concerned that the aircraft would not have sufficient performance to climb above the birds and so decided to stop.”

It added that the 53-year-old pilot believed the brakes became ineffective after overheating with the engine shockloaded. The propeller and front wheel were also damaged.

The report concluded: “Distracted by the presence of birds over the end of the runway the pilot made a decision to abort the takeoff at high speed but was unable to stop before overrunning the end of the runway.”