A PILOT and his passenger had a lucky escape on Saturday afternoon after their aircraft crash landed and flipped onto its roof.

The light aircraft crashed on the runway at Old Sarum Airfield when it came in to land at about 2.40pm. It hit the ground too early and bounced back up into the air several times before the front under carriage collapsed and it flipped over.

The male passenger was able to walk free from the wreckage but the pilot, described as an older man, was stuck inside. Fellow pilot Paul Sample was about to take off in his plane when he saw the Flight Design CTSW model crash land.

“I was nearest to the aircraft as it came in and I got out and sprinted over to them,” he said. “The aircraft was on its back smashed up and there was a strong smell of petrol.

“I knew that there was a parachute device in the aircraft which is like an air bag that blows up when it’s triggered and it was still live.

“The pilot was hanging upside down in his straps as I arrived. As there was a risk of fire, I helped him get up off the wing and away from the aircraft as quickly as possible.” Emergency services then arrived and the pilot was taken to Salisbury District Hospital to be treated for minor injuries. “I think they were very lucky,” said Mr Sample. “My number one worry was that it was going to catch fire.” The airfield was closed until about 4pm while the area was cleared.

The crash is now being investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.