Plane which crashed in Norfolk, killing two, may not have been properly maintained

The crashed aircraft, which stalled and landed on the sea wall Picture: Air Accident Investigation

The crashed aircraft, which stalled and landed on the sea wall Picture: Air Accident Investigation Branch - Credit: Archant

An aircraft crashed on the Queen's Norfolk estate, killing its pilot and his passenger after suffering 'catastrophic engine failure'.

A graphic by the Air Accident Investigation Branch showing the route of the aircraft on a map from G

A graphic by the Air Accident Investigation Branch showing the route of the aircraft on a map from Google Earth - Credit: Archant

The Piper Cherokee Arrow came down on at Wolferton, near King's Lynn, on the morning of September 11, 2017.

A report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the aircraft was en route from London Southend Airport to Newcastle International Airport.

It said over The Wash, its pilot report the engine was running roughly and he turned back towards the coastline.

The engine failed and the aircraft stalled as the pilot attempted a forced landing, colliding with a sea bank with 'a high rate of descent'.


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Retired company director Nigel Dodds, 58, from Market Lane in Dunston, Gateshead, was flying the four-seater plane.

He was flying with former school worker Valerie Barnes, 73, from Hillcrest Drive in Gateshead, at the time. Both died at the scene from multiple injuries.

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The AAIB said Mr Dodds broadcast a Mayday shortly before turning towards Wolferton. He told air traffic controllers he would try to land at RAF Marham, then transmitted: 'That's smoke now. I think I've got an electrical fire. Engine failed.'

An air traffic controller suggested he try to fly to Great Massingham airfield, nine miles away. Mr Dodds last transmission said: 'It's gonna be a field.'

Farm workers who saw the aircraft said it was flying at low level, with no engine noise, before stalling and falling from the sky.

The AAIB report said the aircraft, which was owned by a syndicate based at Newcastle, was rarely flown.

It adds it was parked outside at Newcastle from November 2015 - July 2016, which included a period of 'inclement weather'.

It said: 'It is not known whether measures were taken to prevent deterioration to the aircraft or its engine during the long period of parking.'

Corrosion debris was found in the engine and its lubrication system. The report concluded: 'The engine failure was due to oil loss caused by damage and premature wear to the oil control rings. The engine had been inactive for several months and probably had not been inhibited in accordance with the manufacturer's guidance, leading to the formation of corrosion in the engine.'

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