Plane Incident Cranfield Image Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

At around 3.30pm this afternoon (29 April 2021) Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) was called to a light aircraft incident in Cranfield. It sent five rescue pumps from Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire Fire Services along with its drone, a rescue unit from Kempston and an incident command unit from Leighton Buzzard.

The aircraft was a light aircraft which crash landed in a field. The two people on board self-extricated themselves prior to BFRS’s arrival.

The area was made safe before BFRS left the scene. The above photo was taken using the BFRS drone.

[UPDATE added 09:08 30/4/2021]

A spokesperson for ZeroAvia said:

“On April 29th, 2021, ZeroAvia’s R&D aircraft made a safe off-airport landing just outside the Bedfordshire airport perimeter in an adjacent field during a routine pattern test flight. The aircraft has sustained some damage, but everybody involved is safe, and without injury. The aircraft landed on its wheels and almost came to a stop, but was damaged as it reached uneven terrain at low speed.

“The incident was immediately reported to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, and the Fire Service attended on the ground, as is the standard procedure.

“We are investigating this incident and analysing the data to assess the cause, and we will provide updates as we learn more.”

[UPDATE added 14:17 30/4/2021]

A spokesperson for Cranfield Airport, said:

“Yesterday afternoon, an aircraft made a landing just outside the airport perimeter in an adjacent field. Everybody involved is safe, and there were no injuries. Our Airport Fire Service attended the scene swiftly and liaised with the local Emergency Services.”

[UPDATE added 08:30 3/5/2021]

On 1 May, ZeroAvia published a press release on its website. ZeroAvia said that the aircraft was carrying out a routine pattern test flight (logged as ZeroAvia Test 86, and the 6th flight in this flight testing segment). The aircraft made an off-airport landing and the aircraft landed normally, and almost came to a stop. But it was damaged after it caught its left main gear and wing in the uneven terrain at the end of the field at low speed.

ZeroAvia said that the facts as they stand now are as follows:

  • The flight conformed to the approved test route over the airport
  • The structural integrity of ZeroAvia systems was maintained throughout the incident sequence and there were no unintended hydrogen or electrical releases and no fire
  • After the landing, the crew were able to safeguard the battery and safely release hydrogen from the onboard tanks, following ZeroAvia safety protocol
  • No fluid leaks were observed at the time
  • Full data logs were preserved and will be used in our investigation

​It added that its investigation team will deliver a full review of the incident in collaboration with the UK’s AAIB, in-line with industry best practices and procedures. 

Although this incident will disrupt ZeroAvia’s 6-seat HyFlyer demonstration program (which was close to ending) the company does not expect any negative impact on its commercial-intent HyFlyer 2 program targeting 10-20 seat aircraft, or its large-engine development program targeting 50+ seat aircraft.