The Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Department of Transport has issued a preliminary report in the an accident that claimed the life of a Clare man last month.
At around 4.00pm on September 18th last, Michael Flynn died when the powered hang glider he was flying crashed in an agricultural field close to Miltown Malbay.
The AAIU report states: “The Pilot was flying and operating alone. Evidence gathered at the accident site indicates that the Pilot launched the hang glider, travelled a distance over ground of less than 100 metres and impacted terrain in the same field. There was no fire. Subsequently, the Pilot was pronounced deceased.”
The aircraft was a powered hang glider. It had a Magic 166 wing manufactured by Airwave and a Mosquito harness manufactured by Swedish Aerosport. The harness had an integrated, two-stroke engine, driving a two-bladed propeller.
AAIU inspectors spoke to three witnesses who had seen the hang glider on the day of the accident. One witness was at home, a short distance away, and saw the Pilot at one side of the field, preparing the hang glider prior to the flight. Sometime later, the witness saw the hang glider at the other side of the field but did not immediately suspect that anything was amiss.
A short while later, noting that the hang glider was in the same position, the witness walked down to the hang glider and found the Pilot secured in the hang glider harness. The witness immediately sought assistance from local people and also alerted the emergency services.
The other two witnesses were visiting a house in the vicinity of the accident site. The witnesses were in the garden of the house when they observed the Pilot in the field with the hang glider and said they could hear an engine running which they believed to be the hang glider engine. The witnesses told the Investigation that they had never seen the hang glider before and one of them used a pair of binoculars to have a closer look. The witness holding the binoculars said that they saw the Pilot launch the hang glider and that once airborne, the Pilot kicked his legs backwards into the harness.
As the Pilot did so, the hang glider jerked slightly. The hang glider then veered left and rapidly pitched downwards towards the ground. The witnesses could not see the Pilot, and due to a lack of familiarity with hang gliding, they were unaware that the Pilot may have been injured. The witnesses recalled that they could hear the engine running after the flight.
The Investigation is ongoing and a Final Report will be published in due course.
The AAIU has published a Preliminary Report of an accident involving a powered hang glider on 18 September 2022. Shortly after take-off, the hang glider impacted terrain near Miltown Malbay, County Clare. There was no fire. The Pilot was fatally injured. https://t.co/lmSGSSHzcZ pic.twitter.com/chl7rtedA0
— AAIU IRELAND (@aaiu_ireland) October 24, 2022