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Pilot and radio operator misunderstanding led to triplane crash

PUBLISHED: 16:34 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:53 12 September 2019

The replica First World War Fokker tri-plane flipped over on take off at Old Buckenham Airfield. Picture: Emily Prince

The replica First World War Fokker tri-plane flipped over on take off at Old Buckenham Airfield. Picture: Emily Prince

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A replica First World War Fokker tri-plane crashed at Old Buckenham Airfield because of a misunderstanding over what runway to use, an investigation found.

The replica Fokker tri-plane pilot, from Briston, escaped without injury following the crash at Old Buckenham Airfield. Picture: AAIBThe replica Fokker tri-plane pilot, from Briston, escaped without injury following the crash at Old Buckenham Airfield. Picture: AAIB

The 56-year-old pilot escaped without injury when his distinctive bright red aircraft overturned on take off at the airfield at Abbey Road, Old Buckenham, on April 19 this year.

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An Air Accidents Investigation Branch report states that the airfield radio operator had expected the aircraft to take off from one runway but then saw it lining up on another one.

A message to switch runaways was misinterpreted by the pilot as an instruction to move to the right side of the runway. The plane's right wheel then collided with a runway edge marker causing it to flip over.

It adds: "The accident occurred because the aircraft started its take off roll on the right side of runway 2 and collided with an edge marker. The limited forward visibility from the triplane meant that the pilot could not see the edge markers."

The plane sustained minimal damage, while the pilot, a former Norfolk GP who lives in Briston, North Norfolk, walked away unscathed.

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