Microlight death-crash pilot had been drinking

PUBLISHED: 14:22 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:12 06 May 2010

The crashed microlight aircraft

The crashed microlight aircraft

A MICROLIGHT instructor who died when his plane crash-landed during a lesson with a pupil was well over the legal alcohol limit for pilots. The Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) found that the level would have seriously impaired Jaysukh Madhvan

Farmer Mick Surridge who helped pull the victims from the wreckage

A MICROLIGHT instructor who died when his plane crash-landed during a lesson with a pupil was well over the legal alcohol limit for pilots.

The Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) found that the level would have "seriously impaired" Jaysukh Madhvani's judgement leading to the crash at Plaistow's Farm in Potters Crouch last March.

The 54-year-old pilot from Barnet had been demonstrating an "engine-off" landing to a pilot-in-training who was due to take a skills test two days later but the plane clipped a tree during the manoeuvre and plummeted to the ground.

Both of them were pulled from the wreckage by local farmer Mick Surridge and other witnesses but Mr Madhvani was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman trainee pilot survived with serious injuries but could recall little of the accident on her recovery.

Toxicology tests during Mr Madhvani's post-mortem revealed that his blood alcohol limit was 137mg in 100ml of blood - the legal limit for pilots is just 20mg in 100ml of blood.

The pathologist said: "These calculations suggest either that the pilot had consumed a quantity of alcohol the previous evening which would be sufficient to induce stupor or coma in most individuals, or that he had continued to consume alcohol at some stage in the 12 hours prior to his death."

Commenting on Mr Madhvani's liver, he said that it was fatty which most likely represented the effect of chronic alcohol use.

The investigation also found on consulting with the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) that Plaistow's Farm in Blunts Lane was not a suitable area to carry out an engine-off landing as it was a relatively small airfield.

In light of the findings, the BMAA will publicise to its members the hazards of flying under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Kenyan-born Mr Madhvani moved to Britain in the mid-Sixties and joined the British Army and upon leaving he turned to flying microlights.

He later set up the centre at Plaistow Farm under his company, Jay Airsports, and he had nearly 5,000 hours of flying experience.

He also founded the Barnet Flying Club, another flying school in Essex and he competed in several Round Britain Rallies as well as touring most of France.

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