Nigel Mansell’s private plane damaged

Ex Formula One star Nigel Mansell has had his £3million private jet grounded after an incident with another plane on the ground.

Last month, Mansell’s Cessna Citation CJ2 was on the ground at Exeter Airport when a a team of Flybe technicians were testing a Bombardier CRJ-900, accidentally blasted his plane with a stream of red-hot gases.

The airport includes an area for testing jets after routine maintenance with the exhaust gases normally vented against a heat-resistant wall. With the executive flight area next to the engine-running area, it is unclear as to whether the Flybe jet was incorrectly positioned in the engine-running area, or if Mansell had strayed too close to the jet.

The tail of Mansell’s plane has been damaged and it is estimated that it will cost around £20,000 to fix.

A statement released by Flybe states, “Flybe confirms that a small, privately owned Cessna Citation light aircraft incurred minor damage on December 14, 2009, at Exeter International Airport when it experienced buffeting during the routine maintenance testing of a thirdparty CRJ-900 jet aircraft s engines.

“The aircraft was parked in an area adjacent to the airport s designated engine ground-run base, a specialised area featuring an approved blast wall which is used regularly and frequently to ground-run and test jet engines.

“A full investigation has now been completed with the agreed finding that the minor damage incurred was the unfortunate result of a freak accident.

Flybe can confirm that the matter is now in the hands of the relevant insurers.”

Mansell uses his Cessna on a regular basis to travel between his Jersey home and his Exeter karting business.