Call for aerobatic training after trainee pilots die in accidenT

A CORONER has said he will recommend that pilots have plane-specific aerobatics training after two promising RAF trainees died when they were unable to recover their aircraft from a spin.

Flying Officer Avjir Singh Sandhu

Ajvir Singh Sandhu, 25, and Cameron James Forster, 21, died in April when their light aircraft crashed into a field at Whitwell-on-the-Hill, in North Yorkshire.

Coroner Michael Oakley said he will make recommendations about training and that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reviews its advice about parachutes for private planes.

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The inquest, in Northallerton, heard that both men had extensive flying training and that Mr Sandhu, the pilot on the day of the crash, was trained in aerobatics.

But experts told the hearing that the procedure to recover from a spin in the Slingsby Firefly plane the men were flying was slightly different to that in other aircraft.

The inquest was told that Mr Sandhu went up on the aircraft with a flying instructor in January but did not perform any aerobatics during that flight.

On the day of the crash, on April 30, one eyewitness said she saw the plane “spiralling downwards in a corkscrew movement” as she drove near Castle Howard.

But Robert Vicory, an inspector with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), said he found no structural or mechanical failures or malfunctions with the aircraft, which he described as being in a good condition.

Post-mortem examinations found that Mr Sandhu, from Essex, died instantly from blunt head injuries and Mr Forster, from West Sussex, died from torso injuries.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Oakley said: “This plane was not carrying a parachute. That’s something I consider does need perhaps looking at.”

He continued: “Similarly, the issue has been made with regard to the specific spin training.

“There’s the issue that every aircraft may have its own idiosyncrasies and clearly this aircraft does have that.”