So sad to hear of the loss of life at Popham today when a small light aircraft came down south of the A303 in poor weather, almost certainly attempting a descent to land on runway 26. One of the three on board survived, and was driven to Southampton hospital in critical condition. Apparently the aircraft wasn’t based at Popham, but had left from Bembridge and was presumably diverting there due to the weather.
Another aircraft came down in about the same place in September 2012, but with no loss of life.
I was flying yesterday in a similar aircraft but thought better of today due to visit; and it’s both sad and sobering. My thoughts are with their relatives and everyone else at the Spitfire Club.
The names of the occupants have been released as Lewis and Sally Tonkinson, with their six-year-old son as the sole survivor. Looking at the photographs of the crash site in the Isle of Weight County Press, the aircraft in question appears to be very “light”, consistent with a Pioneer 300 Hawk registration G-OWBA, of which Mr Tonkinson is a connected and on which 37 hours have been logged. Curiously, this is a two-seater with a 20Kg luggage capacity. LAA registration number is LAA 330-15155
I’ve seen reported elsewhere that the aircraft in question was a Pioneer 400 G-CGVO, but can’t tie this to Mr Tonkinson. The 400 is a “stretched” 300, with four seats, which would make more sense, but I’ve seen no official confirmation. There’s an AAIB report on G-CGVO (door opened on takeoff), but it was in Herefordshire, and the aircraft was based in Wales. It’s obviously possible that it subsequently changed hands.