G-EGVA: Lost in Clouds Over English Channel, AAIB
On May 13, 2022, the AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) published Special Bulletin S1/2022, describing an accident involving G-EGVA becoming shrouded in clouds on April 2, 2022.
The Special Bulletin highlighted the danger of entering clouds without the necessary qualifications and experience and referred to guidance published by the CAA on the use of lifejackets. Further investigation did not reveal additional evidence having any different effect. This report includes information already published and confirms the initial findings presented in the Special Bulletin.
The aircraft was one of seven taking part in a club “fly-out” from Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome to Le Touquet in France. A line of highly convective clouds was forecast on the intended route and as G-EGVA approached the middle of the English Channel, one of its two occupants reported to London Information that they were completely inside clouds. Neither of the pilots were qualified to fly in clouds and, shortly after this transmission, the aircraft disappeared from radar. An extensive search of the area was coordinated by the UK and French Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centres, but neither the aircraft nor the two occupants could be found.
It is likely that control of the aircraft was lost when it entered the convective cloud and that it was substantially damaged on impact with the sea. The CAA has published an animation and podcast reinforcing the safety messages highlighted in the AAIB Special Bulletin S1/2022.
The available evidence, at the time of issue of this report, suggests that control of the aircraft was lost when it entered clouds. The Special Bulletin was published to remind pilots of the danger of entering cloud when not qualified to fly in IMC, and highlights guidance available in the CAA Skyway Code and Safety Sense leaflets.
Content source: AAIB, “AAIB investigation to Piper PA-28R-200-2, G-EGVA.”
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