Pilot crashes plane after claiming GPS sent him to a non-existent airport in Alford, Aberdeenshire (pictured). Wikicommons / Anne Burgess

A pilot crashed his plane after his sat nav directed him to an airport in Scotland that didn't exist, air accident investigators report.

Investigators said the 53 year-old-man took off 40 miles away in Forfar, Angus with the intention to land at a rural strip in Alford, Aberdeenshire, however when he got there it was nowhere to be seen. After circling three times at low altitude above the area he said his Garmin GPSMAP 496 device navigated him to, he lost control.

He encountered a severe downdraft and upon diving to the ground the light aircraft, identified as a single-engine Maule MX-7-160, hit a nearby wall and flipped over, according to Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

The pilot, who holds a US licence and has over 1,185 hours of flying experience, and his passenger managed to escape without injury, however the plane was destroyed.

While the pilot claims his GPS device directed him to the Meikle Endovie Airfield, the AAIB said "the airfield that the pilot was attempting to locate does not appear to exist" and Garmin added to the mystery by claiming that particular airfield is not in its current database.

plane crash GPS fail
The Maule MX-7-160 that crashed in Scotland. Geograph / The Carlisle Kid

How the pilot managed to be looking for that non-existent 'ghost' airport, then, remains part of the investigation, which can be read in full here.