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UPDATED WITH PICTURES: Three escape as aircraft crash lands
A PILOT has told of his shock at surviving a crash landing in which his plane plummeted 50ft.
Bill Cook, 83, was flying a plane which was towing a glider when he experienced engine problems.
The pilot of the glider he was pulling, who was with a passenger, was forced to detach the glider from the plane and perform an emergency landing on MoD land close to Bovington this morning.
During Mr Cook’s crash landing, the wing of his plane clipped a tree - causing the aircraft to spin on the ground and slide backwards.
All three people involved in the two emergency landings, who are members of Wareham-based Dorset Glider Club, walked away unharmed.
Ringwood resident Mr Cook, who has been flying planes for more than 40 years, said he did the pre-flight checks but as he climbed, his engine stopped developing power.
He said: “This is the first time I’ve pranged any planes.
“I’d done the pre-flight checks and taken off down the strip. I was climbing out.
“As I was about 30ft, the engine stopped developing any power, so I lowered the nose a bit but it didn’t increase the speed.”
He said he tried to aim for a military road at Bovington.
“I got it lined up to land down the road but unfortunately the right wing tip clipped a tree and span me around and dumped me on the ground,” he said.
“I slid along the ground backwards and totally wrote the plane off.”
“As it span round, I thought ‘This is going to hurt’. Then it was all quiet and I was sat thinking ‘What am I going to do now?’”
“I’m going to check my premium bond now because I might be having a very lucky day.”
He said the whole drama had unfolded in around two minutes.
Glider pilot Dave Piercy, of Bere Regis, said he remained calm as he saw the plane he was being towed by get into difficulty.
He said: “I recognised that the tug was losing power and we weren’t climbing.
“After a few seconds I realised it wasn’t getting better and I released.”
Mr Piercy said his passenger Ian Hall – who was new to gliding - remained very calm.
“I made him aware it was obvious things weren’t going right and got on doing the best landing I could in the space available,” he added.
The club hasn’t had a similar incident for around 20 years, Mr Piercy said.
He said he was pleased that no one had been injured.
He added: “Any accident is to be regretted but those involved did what they could.
“I suppose I’d say things could have been worse but we used our training and our skills to bring about as successful a conclusion as we could.”
Club praises response to drama
The MoD assisted the club in recovering the tug plane and the glider.
The plane was written off in the crash.
Police officers were at the scene today investigating and made the Civil Aviation Authority aware.
Club member Dave Bamber praised the emergency services and the MoD.
He said: “I think everybody responded with speed and an excellent degree of professionalism.
“Both the emergency services and the MoD were fantastic.”
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