A PILOT had a lucky escape after a plane attempting to make an emergency landing at Popham Airfield ended on its back in a cornfield.

A faulty oil seal has been blamed for the horror incident in which the light aircraft flipped on July 16.

The pilot – who amazingly walked away from the crashed plane unhurt – was flying it back from Clench Common Airfield (near Marlborough) back to its home base at Deanland Airfield after engine maintenance on the afternoon of 16 July when disaster struck.

The tiny 2012 built Ikarus aircraft – reg G IRED – owned by Deanland Flight Training Ltd, was around 16 minutes into the flight when the pilot who had carried out full pre-flight checks before take-off spotted the oil pressure gauge fall to zero.

He began to divert the flight to Popham but around 30 to 45 seconds later the engine stopped and he was left with no alternative but to attempt to land in the corn field below.

Describing what happened next a newly published Air Accident Investigation Branch report into the incident says: “During the landing the aircraft nosed over and came to rest inverted. The pilot vacated the upturned aircraft uninjured.”

The report continues: “A film of engine oil covered the underside of the fuselage. An initial examination of the engine found there had been a complete loss of engine oil during the short flight.

“The pilot was later informed that there was an unspecified problem with one of the engine pushrod tube seals, which had resulted in the oil loss.”