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Fuel Starvation Examined as Cause of Canadian Tiger Moth Crash

Tiger Moth
The damaged Tiger Moth being hauled into the hangar.

Howard Cook
Pilot Howard Cook is recovering from injuries sustained in the crash.

September 13, 2009 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is considering fuel starvation as the primary cause of the crash of a de Havilland Tiger Moth last month.  The WWII-era Canadian primary trainer from the Vintage Wings of Canada Museum crashed during a maintenance test flight.  Museum pilot Howard Cook was flying the aircraft to test a recently repaired tail-wheel when it crashed shortly after take-off from Ottawa/Gatineau Airport in Quebec, Canada.  Cook, a British pilot, sustained multiple injuries including a broken back, ankle, wrist and ribs.  The aircraft received substantial damage.

Don McNeil, with Vintage Wings of Canada, which is based at Ottawa/Gatineau, said in an email, “It appears as though fuel starvation is the primary cause though this has not been confirmed.  The Transportation Safety Board Report should be completed by the end of the month”.  McNeil added that Cook (who has been recuperating at museum official’s home near Gatineau) is on track to return to the United Kingdom in a few weeks.   The aircraft will be restored and the museum is seeking donations to help defray the costs of repairing the broken main spar and right landing gear, cracked left wing-tip and fuselage ribs, and replacing the engine and propeller. 

Cook, a civilian pilot, is based at Duxford, England.  For Vintage Wings, Cook flies their Harvard Texan and the Tiger Moth. For the first time, Vintage Wings of Canada brought four aircraft to EAA AirVenture 2009. On display were a Royal Australian Air Force P-40, RCAF Supermarine Spitfire XVI, Royal Navy Corsair, and a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver. Several of the aircraft won awards including Best Fighter, Silver Wrench, and a Judge’s choice.

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