Pilot, 80, crashes replica German WW2 plane in field after mistaking tractor lines for a runway


AN elderly pilot wrecked his replica German World War Two plane when he mistook tractor lines for a runway and crashed into a field.

Barry Conway, 80, flipped his home-built Focke-Wulf aircraft trying to land and had to be cut free from the cockpit.

The former RAF fighter ace was rushed to hospital with cracked vertebrae in his neck and back.

A pal said dad-of-two Barry is “very lucky” to be alive following the frightening crash in Ogbourne St George, Wilts, on Sunday.

Dudley Pattison, 76, added: “He thought that the tractor lines were the edge of the runway. The sun was in his eyes, probably.

“He can’t understand how he made the mistake, he’s mad at himself. With the airplane, the view on landing is quite restricted. That didn’t help.

“The tractor ruts made the plane flip over. But he is in good spirits, though he will certainly be in a neck brace for a while.”

Firefighters used hydraulic cutting equipment to free Barry and foam to prevent the fuel from igniting.

The damaged plane has been taken to a hangar and is awaiting inspection.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch spokesman said: “We were informed of an accident involving a light aircraft south of Swindon and we will be conducting an investigation.”

Barry, of Carterton, Oxfordshire, is a former RAF Phantom pilot and later flew commercial airlines.

He paired up with Dudley in 2000 to win the Schneider Trophy air race — a 100-mile competition which is famous for incredible speeds and intricate manoeuvring.

Barry ensured details on his plane  were similar to the original Third Reich Luftwaffe version, even down to the Swastika.

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