Pilot lined up plane carrying Manchester City star with wrong set of runway lights before it veered onto grass

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A plane veered off the runway at Norwich International Airport as it sped up for take off because the pilot lined it up with the wrong set of lights on the runway, an investigation has revealed.

Aerial view of Norwich International Airport

Aerial view of Norwich International Airport - Credit: Supplied

The private plane was reportedly carrying Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany back to Manchester following his side's 3-0 victory over Norwich City in an FA tie on January 9 this year.

The accident, which happened at 6.07pm, forced the airport to shut for nearly four hours, and delayed the departure of other Manchester City footballers on a separate flight.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said: 'Soon after the aircraft started accelerating it veered rapidly to the left.

'The commander tried to keep it straight by applying right rudder and differential braking.

'However, he quickly realised the left wheel was on the grass and aborted the take-off.

'As the aircraft decelerated and came to rest it slewed around to the right due to the application of right rudder and wheel brakes.'

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Neither the two crew members, nor three passengers on board, were injured, but the Citation CJ2 suffered damage to its landing gear, landing gear doors and underside.

After the aircraft stopped, the commander shut down the engines, and the co-pilot told air traffic control the plane had gone on to the grass.

The commander checked that the passengers had not been hurt, opened the cabin door to check for smoke or fire, and remained on board until firefighters arrived shortly afterwards.

The report said: 'The crew believed that the lights they could see ahead were the runway centre line lights. Soon after beginning the takeoff run the left wheel departed the paved surface and on to grass with the aircraft then veering left. The take-off was rejected.

'The aircraft had been lined up with the runway's left edge lights, having not followed the green turning circle taxiway lights to their conclusion.'

The report made a safety recommendation that runway edge lights be made more distinctive.

The plane was operated by Centreline Air, which declined to comment on the report, but Phil Brockwell, a partner of the company, said at the time that the aircraft left the runway and got stuck in the mud, adding: 'It was at a fairly low speed of its departure, at which point it veered off the runway, for reasons for which we have some guesses.'

The airport re opened at 9.58pm, and was open as usual the following day.

Norwich International Airport declined to comment.

Were you involved in the incident? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk