Scots pilot in forced landing after losing glasses

A Zenair Zodiac similar to the one forced to land. Picture: Complimentary
A Zenair Zodiac similar to the one forced to land. Picture: Complimentary
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A PILOT who struggled to see after losing his glasses when his aircraft’s canopy came off in mid air escaped uninjured when he made a forced landing.

The 65-year-old had also lost his cap, headset, one of two GPS displays and a chart when the canopy detached over Ayrshire in February.

He landed the Zenair Zodiac in a field near Cumnock despite his eyes becoming sore and not being able see the ground very clearly.

The aircraft was damaged beyond economic repair in the landing, with the man left “very shaken” but uninjured, according a UK Government air accidents investigation branch report published today.

The pilot was ten minutes into his return journey from Bute to his home airstrip at Benston Farm, near Cumnock, when the canopy suddenly detached.

He initially thought it had been an explosion.

The report said the man was still able to see the waypoints on his remaining GPS display but could not read the distances without his spectacles.

He also felt the rudder “didn’t feel right” and made a forced landing, but realised the field was rougher than he had anticipated when he touched down and the aircraft slid to a halt on its nose after the nose landing gear collapsed.

The canopy was found to have damaged the rudder when it came off. The pilot’s lost equipment was never recovered.

The report said the Light Aircraft Association was investigating possible factors for the canopy detaching, such as a worn mechanism.