Lucky escape for 75-year-old Knutsford pilot after microlight crash

Knutsford Guardian: A rape field A rape field

A 75-YEAR-OLD pilot from Knutsford is counting his lucky stars after walking away from an aircraft wreckage unhurt.

Brian Boniface found himself in a sticky situation when the engine of his 1994 built Kolb Twinstar failed at 250ft.

The quick-thinking Mereheath Lane resident kept his cool, however, and amazingly managed to walk away unscathed after crashing the microlight into a field of rape.

Brian, who had 316 hours flying experience, said: “At 250ft it stalled. I thought of a rude word but I had to weigh up the options and have a plan.”

The engine was making a flight from Arclid Airfield to its base in Clotton one Saturday morning in July when the aircraft got into trouble.

Brian immediately looked for a field to land in and had two choices – one field of wheat and the other a field of tall rape.

He decided to target the wheat field but the forced landing didn’t go according to plan.

“All I could see ahead was the rape field with the wheat field behind it. I thought I could guide it to the wheat field but the aircraft just couldn’t make it,” added Brian.

As there was not sufficient height to glide that far, Brian came down in the rape field wrecking the tiny aircraft beyond economic repair.

Brian said: “It was a nice landing until the last four feet. The rape plants wrapped around the wheels of the aircraft and I came down with quite a bump.”

A question mark still remains over the cause of the incident. Although there was sufficient fuel on board, the carburettor was dry and the propeller very stiff to turn indicating possible fuel starvation of the engine.

However, the events of July 27 haven’t put Brian off his beloved 20-year-old hobby and he hopes to return to the cockpit in the near future.

“That’s the beauty of microlights, if they come down, they don’t come down with quite as big a thump,” he said.

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