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Light aircraft crashes on route to Gloucestershire Airport

Aviation lawyer calls for answers so that lessons can be learned.

On 8 January 2018, a Piper PA-28 single-engine aircraft, crashed into a field near Tewkesbury, sadly killing the flying instructor and student.

The aircraft, which was owned by Aeros Flight Training, was heading to Gloucestershire Airport and came down in foggy conditions. It is reported that Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Gloucestershire Airport lost contact with the aircraft at around 12.40 pm.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) are investigating the crash.

Jim Morris, Head of Aviation at national law firm Ashfords and former RAF pilot, has raised concerns about this tragic accident, and what lessons can be learned to improve flight safety.

Jim commented: "It is crucial to determine why the aircraft descended into terrain in poor visibility.  Where there are weather conditions that are not suitable for visual flying, such as cloud/ fog, aircraft that are flying in this weather need to fly using flight instruments and the crew should be receiving a radar service from ATC. Prior to descending on an instrument approach procedure to land at the airfield, while flying in the poor weather the aircraft must remain above the minimum safety altitude for the area, to ensure a sufficient safety margin above the ground and obstacles. 

"To determine the chain of events that led to this tragedy, the AAIB will need to consider a number of factors including the nature of the weather conditions, radio transmissions to and from ATC, any service that ATC was providing, human factors, the possibility of airframe/ engine icing and whether any form of technical problem caused the aircraft to lose height".

It is to be hoped that the AAIB can promptly complete the investigation and publish an accident report so that lessons can be learned and relevant safety measures implemented to prevent a similar accident in the future.

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