A passenger plane cartwheeled and landed upside down beyond the runway in a dramatic crash, investigators have revealed.

The 77-year-old Cessna 120 crashed as the pilot tried to touch down in difficult weather conditions following what he thought were instructions from a passenger.

It touched down firmly on the edge of the runway at Kittyhawk Aerodrome near Lewes when a passenger - also an experienced pilot - told the pilot to move his control stick towards the ground instead of towards the sky as he intended.

The propeller plane clipped vegetation at the edge of the runway and cartwheeled over a fence, where it then stopped upside down, according to documents from an investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

The pilot, who held a private licence and had more than 400 hours of flying experience under his belt, was new to the specific plane with just three hours at the controls before the incident on September 15 last year.

He arrived at the airfield, where he kept the plane registered G-BRUN, with the intention of flying but initially decided not to fly after assessing the weather.

Read more: Plane crashed into field after engine started coughing and cut out

However, after a conversation with an experienced pilot and instructor familiar with the airfield, he decided to fly with him in the passenger seat.

The Argus: Kittyhawk AerodromeKittyhawk Aerodrome (Image: Kittyhawk Aerodrome/Kittyhawk Un Limited)

The take-off and departure was normal but the pilot said it was a "thermally sort of day and he was being thrown around a bit" so made the decision to return to the airfield at around 2.40pm.

The report said: "Unhappy with his approach to land at the airfield, he initiated a go-around. His passenger agreed with his decision.

"On his second approach, the passenger may have made a comment about the height which the pilot adjusted by aiming to land further down the runway.

"The aircraft touched down firmly and bounced and the pilot initiated another go-around."

The Argus: Kittyhawk AerodromeKittyhawk Aerodrome (Image: Kittyhawk Aerodrome/Kittyhawk Un Limited)

When the nose of the plane rose steeply to go back around, it appeared to sink and drift off the centre line towards the edge of the runway.

The pilot said the passenger suggested to "push forward" on the control yoke, which he did, causing the plane to touch down firmly and bounce along the runway towards vegetation at the edge, which it then clipped and cartwheeled over a fence before finally stopping upside down.

The 66-year-old pilot said he was not prepared for the flight since his change of mind to take to the sky was spontaneous.

He also said he was not clear on the role of the passenger and perhaps overreacted to comments from him.

The AAIB report added: "He was still familiarising himself with G-BRUN which he had recently acquired and had only flown three hours, all under the supervision of another qualified instructor."

The pilot was also inexperienced with the yoke used to control the plane, compared with a stick which he was normally used to and which he said caused him to overreact.

The passenger told the AAIB he was unlikely to have told the pilot to "push" the yoke "forward" and would have said "nose down" instead, expecting the pilot to adjust the angle of the plane to climb away.

The report suggested the pilot had a "heightened sense of security" because of the passenger's job as an instructor and went ahead despite not being confident with the conditions.