Broadcaster Paul Holmes yesterday walked away from his second crash-landing in less than a year with a cut finger and a badly damaged aircraft.

He had been practising take-offs and landings in his vintage Boeing Stearman biplane at the Bridge Pa Aerodrome near Hastings for about 40 minutes yesterday morning when trouble struck.

As Holmes started another ascent the aircraft apparently drifted sideways, clipped a wire fence and cartwheeled over the corner of a vineyard, collapsing in a clearing.

The accident happened two weeks short of a year ago after he crash-landed the same aircraft on Ngamatea Station, about 60km from Hastings.

In that incident, Holmes circled several times before making what appeared to be an emergency landing. The plane clipped a fence and skidded down an incline before coming to rest against another fence.

The broadcaster was shaken but unhurt.

Swedish visitor Bengt Falander, a professional flight captain for nearly 40 years, was playing golf at the neighbouring Hastings Golf Club yesterday when the latest accident happened.

Mr Falander thought the pilot had a problem with the engine on the last takeoff.

"When he applied the throttle again, there was a really loud explosion and then he seemed to have no power at all."

Hearing the noise, Mr Falander leaped the fence and ran toward the aircraft which was lying on one wing, with the other wing "pointing to the sky".

He was afraid the pilot would be trapped and the plane would burst into flames.

But before he could reach the crash scene, Holmes climbed out and people came running from the aerodrome buildings. An ambulance arrived promptly, followed later by the Fire Service and police.

The pilot was extremely lucky the aircraft did not catch fire, said Mr Falander, who owned a Swedish flight company before selling the business a few years ago.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Bill Summer said the crash was "a minor accident" that would be investigated routinely.

He said Holmes had phoned the authority straight after the mishap.

A safety investigator had spoken to him and the damaged plane had been released back to its owner.

Air Hawkes Bay chief pilot Michael Barnes, who was in his office about 200m away when Holmes came to grief, said the broadcaster was "very fortunate".

The damage to the vintage plane was quite extensive, with both wings and the fuselage affected. It had been taken to the maintenance facility for repairs.

Senior Sergeant Mike O'Leary of Hastings said Holmes told police a gust of wind caught the aircraft and he clipped a grapevine.