Thomas McGowan suffered 80 per cent burns which were “beyond the limits of survival”, the UK Department for Transport’s air accidents investigation branch (AAIB) reported.
Pilot Kenny Dickson, 53, helped Mr McGowan escape from his seat after the aircraft landed upside down in a ditch last August, but he later died in hospital. Mr Dickson suffered 40 per cent burns, which required extensive treatment.
The report said an aviation pathologist found there was “no evidence of significant impact injuries” and it had been a “survivable accident”.
The men were returning to Strathaven in South Lanarkshire after flying to join a group of pilots for lunch on Bute. Mr Dickson reported that the Rotax 912 ULS piston-engined aircraft had appeared to lose power shortly after taking off and was no longer able to climb.
The report said: “With the area around the airfield unsuitable for a landing, he attempted to return to the runway, but in doing so flew into the ground.
“The aircraft came to rest upside down in a ditch and caught fire.
“The pilot and passenger sustained serious burns from which the passenger later died.
“The lack of performance could have been due to a combination of factors, including a technical fault, handling and aircraft weight.”
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