A PILOT who died in a plane crash in Essex was 'not told' about foggy conditions which were ‘incompatible’ with the aircraft and “beyond the pilot’s experience and capabilities”, an investigation has found.

Emergency services were called to a field off Pebmarsh Road, Pebmarsh, near Halstead, on the morning of August 21 last year at about 9.30am following an incident involving a light aircraft.

Police attended alongside the ambulance and fire service.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they reported that a light aircraft was on fire.

Firefighters from Colchester, Halstead and Suffolk worked to quickly extinguish the fire.

Essex Police later confirmed a man, aged in his 70s, who was flying solo, was pronounced dead at the scene.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigation was launched, which has now been concluded.

The report, published on Thursday, said the incident involved a 1970s Piper PA-28-180 aircraft, piloted by a 72-year-old with a private licence.

The pilot was due to fly to Earls Colne Airfield to complete training.

The report reads: “Whilst approaching Earls Colne Airfield, the pilot encountered weather that was not compatible with flight under Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

“The airfield was in fog, but this was not relayed to the pilot when he requested airfield details.”

It said the accident sequence began after entering the fog, and when the pilot attempted to return to where he had taken off, the aircraft “departed from controlled flight”.

The plane struck trees and the ground, fatally injuring the pilot, the report said.

The report later concluded: “This was as a result of the aircraft entering meteorological conditions which were not compatible with VFR and were beyond the pilot’s experience and capabilities.

“When the pilot requested the airfield details, the radio operators at Earls Colne did not inform him that the airfield was in fog."

The report said the airfield understood it was not allowed to pass on the information.

It reads: "They (the radio operators at Earls Colne) had formed a collective view that in providing an Air Ground Communication Service, the privileges of the Radio Operator’s Certificate of Competence did not permit them to pass meteorological information to an aircraft in flight unless it had first been relayed to them from another aircraft."

Examination of the aircraft also did not identify any pre-existing defects or anomalies that may have contributed to the accident.

Following the investigation, the operator of Earls Colne Airfield has introduced additional processes for safety based on new procedures introduced by the CAA post-incident to allow radio operators to offer unofficial weather reports to pilots.