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Family in airfield drama as plane overshoots runway

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: July 05, 2012

  • A close shave – the damaged plane in a field adjacent to the island airfield. John Young

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A LIGHT aircraft with a Midlands family of four on board, which overshot a runway at St Mary's airport, could have struck council houses, according to an onlooker.

Nearby resident David Ashford said he watched the twin- engined Piper Seneca plane landing at 1.07pm last Wednesday on the grass runway from the window of his house.

"They were lucky," he told The Cornishman.

"If he had kept coming with any speed up he would have gone into the council houses just below. It was fairly close – about 100 yards away from them.

"I saw the plane land, come across the runway, overshoot it and come down through the field to above the vet's place.

"It came to rest on its side just below a pittasporum fence and is in not too bad order with only the port side of the undercarriage having collapsed.

"He managed to turn it around side on. I saw the pilot get out and run around – or I took it to be the pilot."

Fire personnel were soon on the scene as were the ambulance and local police.

A statement by the islands' council, who own the airport, said: "A light twin-engine aircraft made an approach to the grass runway at St Mary's airport and subsequently ran off the end of the grass runway into a field.

"There were four people on board. None were injured.

"The emergency services responded immediately to the scene in accordance with the Aerodrome Emergency Orders. There is no current disruption to services at the airport."

Scilly's chief fire officer Declan Ridsdale confirmed the aircraft had overshot runway 27. "There was no fire and the passengers were evacuated safely," he said.

It is believed the pilot, who was on his way to Tresco with his family, had attempted to land on the airfield the previous night but had aborted because of the weather and returned to Cornwall. The second attempt saw the aircraft "bounce" on landing.

"It didn't seem to want to stop and ran into the field near the vet's surgery," said an onlooker.

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  • StanStill  |  July 08 2012, 10:39AM

    Landing an aircraft on grass increases the stopping distance by almost 50% on very wet grass. he would have been better landing on the concrete runway. I cannot understand why he picked the grass as oppossed to the concrete. Lesson learnt with a bit of luck.