Pilot's Helmet-Cam Films Fatal Crash

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One of two low-time pilots used a helmet-camera and filmed the crash that killed them both on July 10, 2010, near Oxfordshire, England, according to testimony by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). The information came to light in court and was reported by British news sources this week. Both pilots had less than 200 hours of flight time with some aerobatic training when they attempted a roll in a modified 1946 Stampe biplane. According to the coroner, the video confirms that the pilot who wore the helmet-cam was front-seat, but it does not help identify who was flying the aircraft. Investigators say the pair lost control at 3,500 feet and entered an inverted spin. AAIB senior  inspector Andrew Blackie said the pair would have had 15 seconds to recover.

The Stampe was equipped with dual controls. Blackie testified at Oxfordsdshire Coroner's Court, saying, "Neither of them had enough experience to recover from an inverted spin at that altitude," the DailyRecord.co.uk reported. The entire event, from beginning the roll to impact with trees, took about 37 seconds, according to investigators. The investigation found no pre-impact mechanical faults with the aircraft, which it said was in good condition prior to the crash. Blackie noted, "You want to have enough height from the ground to sort out anything that goes wrong, but if you were to go any higher, you would be in the airspace that is reserved for the aircraft coming out of Heathrow." He added, "It is not a place that I would choose to do aerobatics."