Microlight crash-landing ‘due to misjudged fuel level’

A crash-landing near Macroom, Co Cork, last year was “probably” due to a lack of fuel, said investigators.

The pilot and passenger of a microlight were taking part in the National Microlight Association of Ireland’s annual flight from Malin to Mizen when the aircraft’s engine seized at 2,000 ft.

According to a report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit Ireland, the crash-landing on July 2 was “probably” due to an underestimated fuel consumption.

The Mainair Flash II Alpha 582 departed from Convoy, Co Donegal, on the first leg of its journey to Granard, Co Longford, and took 100 minutes.

Based on that journey, the pair predicted the microlight was using 12 litres an hour.

They refuelled for the second leg from Granard to Birr, Co Offaly, which went off without incident, apart from slight overheating in the engine which was rectified by topping up coolant in the radiator.

The engine overheated again on the third leg from Birr to Bantry and, as a precautionary measure, the pilot landed in Tipperary and again in Croom, Co Limerick, to check coolant levels.

They over-nighted in Croom before resuming the flight into stronger winds than experienced before.

Around an hour into the flight, the engine cut out and an unsuccessful attempt was made to switch to an auxiliary fuel supply.

The pilot then identified a field where he could land at Renairee, Macroom.

During the descent, it became apparent he was not going to make the planned spot and was in danger of hitting a rocky outcrop.

He then aimed the plane for a gorse thicket which it passed through, coming to rest on a small grassy area.

Neither occupant suffered any injuries. However, the aircraft was substantially damaged.

Investigators believed the strong headwinds led to more fuel being used than anticipated.


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