The pilot was carrying out a cross-country flight from Eshott aerodrome (United Kingdom) bound for Malta on a hired Evektor EV97 registered G-SJES. He was accompanied by three friends each flying their Taylor Monoplane. A person on the ground transported their luggage by road with two other people who took turns being a passenger on the Evektor EV97.
During the flight between Barcelonnette and Castelnuovo Don Bosco, the pilot of the Evektor, who was leading the cross-country flight followed by the three Monoplane pilots, entered a valley east of Larche instead of continuing navigation south-east as had been planned during the briefing. The investigation was not able to determine why the pilot had not followed the planned path. It is possible that he had become disorientated after circling above Larche in order to gain altitude. The other pilots were not checking the navigation and did not immediately identify the error.
The altitude of the four aircraft when they entered this valley did not allow them to cross the pass. When they realised their error and decided to turn around, the pilot of the lowest Monoplane considered that he did not have sufficient room in the valley to safely turn around and carried out a forced landing.
The pilot of the Evektor who was leaving the valley, started a steep turn probably to turn back and check on the Monoplane which had made a forced landing. During the turn, he lost control of the aircraft which struck the ground. According to the statement made by one of the pilots, an insufficient speed to carry out this turn could explain the loss of control.
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