Norfolk pilot’s narrow escape in emergency landing drama

Gary Cotterell was flying his Jabiru light aircraft at 1,000ft over the coast of Northumberland when it suffered engine problems.

Mr Cotterell, 52, from Downham Market, was on a return flight to Southery Airfield in the Fens yesterday evening.

But minutes after he took off from Eshott airfield, in Northumberland, the cockpit of his aircraft began to fill with smoke.

Mr Cotterell, an experienced pilot, was forced to make an emergency landing in a field of cows.

'The cockpit began filling with smoke, so I made a mayday call to Newcastle airport and began to glide inland looking for a field to land on,' he said.

'The first one had people in it but the one next to it had a herd of cows grazing in one corner so I just went for it.'

Emmergency crews were quickly on scene. Mr Cotterell escaped unhurt.

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Watching the aircraft being loaded onto a trailer for the return journey to Norfolk today, Mr Cotterell said the experience hadn't put him off flying.

'I do a lot of flying and a lot of test flying so I'm very current, I know the procedure and everything went like clockwork,' he said.

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