Scale replica Spitfire Mk 26B G-CLHJ accident report released

The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has published its report into the fatal accident involving Spitfire Mk 26B G-CLHJ near Enstone in Oxfordshire on August 22, 2023.

The pilot was conducting the 20th test flight on G-CLHJ as part of the process of obtaining a Permit to Fly. The flight was assessing the aircraft’s stall characteristics after the repositioning of stall strips on the inner leading edges of both wings.

The AAIB report explained that the pilot took off from Enstone Airfield at 1356hrs. The aircraft positioned south of the airfield and climbed to an altitude of 3,000-4,000ft. Although some distance away, witnesses could see the aircraft undergoing a series of stall manoeuvres. The aircraft’s right wing was seen to drop before the aircraft returned to straight and level flight.

After a third stall, the right wing dropped and G-CLHJ entered a clockwise spin, from which it did not recover. The aircraft struck the ground in an open field near the village of Enstone, approximately 100m from a road. A fire centred on the cockpit area caused extensive damage to the centre of the aircraft. The pilot was fatally injured.

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