by Albert Evans
Video captured the moment a pilot was forced to land a vintage aircraft on a busy Devon beach after he ran out of fuel mid-air.
Pilot Zac Rockey, 47, was forced to bring his 1930s light aircraft in to land on the beach while his passenger, Trudi Spiller, frantically waved out the window warning bathers to move.
No-one was hurt during the landing, which happened on Jacob’s Ladder beach in Sidmouth, Devon, on 5 May.
Air accident investigators found an engine fault had caused the plane to burn fuel at a fast rate – leaving the pilot with just two litres left at 1,200ft.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said he had to swerve to avoid bathers and land safely on the beach after he struggled to find another place to land.
The report said: “At a height of approximately 1,200 ft, whilst flying a short distance off the coast near Sidmouth, the engine lost power. “The terrain inland was undulating and crossed by hedges and wires, so the pilot determined that the most favourable option for a forced landing was an adjacent south-facing beach.
“The pilot reported that the long straight beach appeared clear of people and easily within gliding distance.
“Approaching the western end of the beach he noticed several bystanders watching from the water’s edge and positioned the aircraft to avoid them, landing in a short distance on the surface of pebbles and sand.
“The pilot and passenger disembarked unaided and without injury, and pushed the largely undamaged aircraft above the high tide mark with the assistance of those present.”
Zac and Trudi had spent Saturday afternoon taking the World War One-era plane down to Bodmin Airfield for an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
It was as the pair were making their way back to Branscombe that the plane suddenly started to lose power – before the engine then cut out completely.
Speaking at the time he said: “You know what – I have had better runways. It was not ideal.”
The AAIB report published on September 13 concluded: “The aircraft made a successful forced landing on a beach following a loss of engine power.
“A spring in the fuel primer operating system had become disconnected, causing the primer to continue operating and resulting in the available fuel being consumed faster than expected.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, iNews