A pilot had a lucky escape after a plane suffered a major mechanical failure whilst flying over north Shropshire.

In an investigation by the Air Accident Investigations Branch, they found that a light aircraft suffered a major failure whilst flying near Ellesmere after noticeable crack was seen on the plane before take-off.

The flight, which took place on November 11 last year, could have ended in disaster when “the aircraft’s propeller spinner detached in flight”.

The propeller spinner acts as the nose of the plane and the hub of the propeller which keeps the plane powered and in the air.


In the past, the loss of a spinner in flight has been known to cause damage to aircraft and in worst case scenarios has resulted in accidents.

If the spinner becomes partially detached then “damage to the engine cowling can result, along with a high degree of vibration that results in the need for an immediate engine shut-down and a forced landing”.

Thankfully in this case according to the investigation team “no further damage occurred” and the aircraft managed to land “safely”.

However, according to the investigation teams some wear and tear had been noted on the plane and they found that a “single 5 cm crack had been observed in the spinner prior during pre-departure checks”.

The plane in question a Piper PA-28-180 is registered to Ravenair Aircraft Ltd which is based at John Lennon Airport in Liverpool.

The company operates aircraft in the UK and around Europe. It also runs a number of air services including chartering and hiring flights, specialised operations and running its own flying school.