Microlight pilot's 'precision' manoeuvre ended in death crash due to alcohol

PUBLISHED: 19:24 03 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 May 2010

The crashed microlight aircraft after the fatal manoeuvre

The crashed microlight aircraft after the fatal manoeuvre

A MICROLIGHT instructor demonstrating a precision manoeuvre while well over the pilots alcohol limit made a fatal misjudgement and died in a crash-landing. Jaysukh Madhvani was killed instantly after severing his spine when his plane clipped a tree, we

A MICROLIGHT instructor demonstrating a "precision" manoeuvre while well over the pilots' alcohol limit made a fatal misjudgement and died in a crash-landing.

Jaysukh Madhvani was killed instantly after severing his spine when his plane clipped a tree, went out of control and dived into the ground at Plaistow Farm in Potters Crouch on March 28 last year, an inquest heard.

His student Kay Bolton who was sitting in the rear of the aircraft was pulled unconscious from the wreckage by rescuers and airlifted to hospital after suffering multiple internal injuries.

Although she has recovered, she has no memory of the accident and sat with her head in her hands when the accident was recounted at Tuesday's inquest.

Mr Madhvani, aged 54, of Barnet, was an experienced chief flying instructor of his company Jay Airsports based at Plaistow Farm.

He had been training Mrs Bolton for her pilot's licence and he needed to demonstrate an engine-off landing in a microlight.

Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) investigator Timothy Atkinson said witnesses watched the aircraft take off from Plaistow Farm and reach around 2,000 feet before beginning to descend towards the runway.

But the plane was too high and performed a series of "s-bends" which allow aircraft to lose altitude over a short distance.

The plane ended up being too low to reach the runway and its left wing clipped the branch of a tree at about 65 miles per hour.

The wing was so damaged that the plane could no longer fly and went 'in a ballistic way' into the ground 84 metres from the tree.

Local farmer Mick Surridge pulled both the pilot and Mrs Bolton from the wreckage but Mr Madhvani was found to be dead.

A post-mortem revealed Mr Madhvani had 137mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - almost seven times the 20mg limit for pilots. His liver was also found to be in a condition which is common in heavy drinkers.

Pathologist Graham Maidment said the alcohol was consumed some time earlier but it was unlikely it was on the morning of the crash because the reading found in the blood would have been higher.

Mr Atkinson said it would have impaired Mr Madhvani's judgement reducing his ability to perform the engine-off landing which required considerable skill.

He also said the manoeuvre went wrong before the plane hit the tree because it was already too low to reach the runway.

Mrs Bolton thought Mr Madhvani took the plane way out of the usual position. She said: "I have no idea what he was doing there. We had never approached the runway from that side."

The inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death as a result of the plane being too low and hitting a tree during a precision manoeuvre and the pilot having 137mg of alcohol in his blood.

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