Accident Grumman FM-2 Wildcat (General Motors built) G-KINL, Thursday 6 July 2023
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Date:Thursday 6 July 2023
Time:c. 17:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic WCAT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat (General Motors built)
Registration: G-KINL
MSN: 5744
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Heveningham Hall, Suffolk -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Duxford Airport (QFO/EGSU)
Destination airport:Heveningham Hall, Suffolk
Investigating agency: AAIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Grumman FM-2 Wildcat (General Motors built), registration G-KINL, sustained substantial damage when it overturned during a landing attempt at Heveningham Hall, Suffolk on 6 July 2023. The pilot was seriously injured.

The Grumman Wildcat was recently restored to flying condition at Duxford as Royal Navy AX733 "K" and made its first post restoration flight at 12 October 2022.

The pilot stated that the aircraft left Duxford at about 15:30 hrs, with 102 US gallons of fuel. After an uneventful transit to Heveningham Hall, at about 1,500 ft amsl, G-KINL arrived in the area at about 16:00 hrs; as did the Minerva. Prior to the arrival of G-KINL and the Minerva, a Waco UPF74 and a Focke Wulf FW44J5 landed on Runway 24 without incident.

The pilot of G-KINL advised the pilot of the Minerva that he would let him land first. The Minerva pilot made an uneventful landing on Runway 24 and reported that the runway wasfine.

The pilot of G-KINL then flew down Runway 24, to orientate himself to the runway direction, assess the approach over some trees in the undershoot and the proximity of trees on the sides of the runway, before positioning downwind to land. On the downwind leg he completed the landing checks and left the canopy closed. At this point there was about 80 US gallons of fuel remaining.

The pilot then positioned the aircraft on the final approach at a VAPP of 85 kt. The aircraft landed in a 3-point attitude, with the tail wheel about one foot off the ground, just before the runway threshold. The pilot added that, during the initial part of the landing roll, the aircraft was going straight and in full control, with the throttle closed. As he could see the ground crew at the end of the runway, he started thinking ahead about taxiing off the runway to the parking position. At this point he became aware of the aircraft’s tail coming up.

To counter this, he immediately applied full back stick, but the tail continued to rise. He then put both hands on the control column and looked inside to check the position of his feet, which were on the floor, so was not applying braking. Not understanding what was going on, he knew he could not stop the tail from rising, as it was happening so quickly, and that the aircraft would go on its nose as the aircraft was still doing a reasonable speed. As a result, he braced for the impact.

The aircraft went onto its nose, but immediately went further over and came to rest inverted about 96 metres from the point of touchdown. As it did so, the pilot leaned his head forward and braced himself as low as possible in the cockpit. The impact crushed the cockpit into him and forced his head and shoulders to the right of the cockpit.

Once the aircraft had come to rest, the pilot found himself suspended in the straps, with his helmet and left shoulder in contact with the ground, and with his head pushed onto his right shoulder. He noticed a small gap in the Perspex canopy between the ground and the cockpit’s left side and realised that would be the only place to exit the aircraft. Fuel then started leaking down into the cockpit. Realising there was no point in turning the fuel cock off as the fuel would have been coming out of the filler caps and knowing that the electrical relays were in the rear of the fuselage, he knew it would be safe to turn the electrics off, which he did. He then removed his protective helmet and used it to break through some of the canopy’s Perspex to make the hole larger.

By this time, the ground crew from the Minerva had arrived at the aircraft. The pilot of G-KINL was still in the aircraft so the ground crew helped remove the pilot’s helmet and clear away broken canopy parts, and other debris, away from the aircraft. The pilot then released his parachute harness before carefully releasing his aircraft four-point harness.
Once he was able to stretch both his arms out of the hole he was pulled out of the aircraft before being taken a distance away from the aircraft, where some additional people gave him first aid.

Damage Sustained to airframe
Per the AAIB Report "Windscreen and canopy broken, propeller, fin and rudder disrupted".

The aircraft systems and controls were functioning normally during the accident. The weight of the aircraft caused its narrow, high-pressure mainwheel tyres to sink into the soft runway surface and created a rolling resistance which rapidly decelerated the aircraft. The high CG resulted in large rotating moment about the axis of the mainwheels which led to the aircraft toppling forwards, the propeller blades striking the ground, and the aircraft then tipping over on to its back.
The crusty surface of the runway, on top of the soft sub-surface, was probably a result of the wet weather conditions in the weeks prior to the event, followed by warm dry weather in the days prior to the accident. This was undetected, despite the runway being checked in accordance with the guidance available.
The event organisers are planning to implement the following additional measures for future events:
● An RA for the visitors fly-in will be obtained and reviewed in advance of the HCF.
● A risk assessment will be conducted for the operation of Runway 06/24, that is used for the concours and flying display aircraft.
● There will be a nominated suitably qualified and experienced person to coordinate all the aviation operations.
● Firefighting and lifting equipment will be available at Runway 06/24 for movements in the days prior to the country fair.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 12 months
Download report: Final report


1. AAIB Report:

History of this aircraft

Ex G-CHPN, N49JC, N70637, N20HA, N68760, US Navy: BuNo 86690




Revision history:

06-Jul-2023 18:13 gerard57 Added
06-Jul-2023 18:59 Dr. John Smith Updated
06-Jul-2023 19:28 harro Updated
06-Jul-2023 22:08 RobertMB Updated
07-Jul-2023 04:49 norfolkjohn Updated
07-Jul-2023 14:12 RobertMB Updated
07-Jul-2023 19:23 4Holer Updated
10-Jul-2023 00:27 Captain Adam Updated
30-Jun-2024 05:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Category]
30-Jun-2024 05:41 ASN Updated [Embed code, Narrative, Accident report]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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