The pilot of a Second World War Spitfire pulled the wrong lever when it landed at East Midlands Airport, a crash investigation has revealed. The plane's under-carriage collapsed as it was moving off the runway and its wooden propeller hit the ground and shattered. The 46 year old pilot was uninjured and has told investigators he wanted to control the flaps but pulled the wrong switch. The incident occurred on January 7 at about 3.20pm and involved the vintage single-seater fighter which was based at the airport and belonged to Rolls Royce Heritage Trust. The runway had to be closed for nearly three hours and flights in and out of the airport at Castle Donington had to be suspended or diverted. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has just published a report of the accident which was filed by the pilot. The pilot, who has not been named, had more than 9,000 hours flying experience including 89 hours on Spitfires. He told investigators that the aircraft had landed on Runway 27 at East Midlands Airport and was taxiing to vacate the runway when the undercarriage retracted, causing the wooden propeller to strike the runway and shatter. He said he "intended to retract the flaps but inadvertently selected the undercarriage to UP." The levers are on different sides of the cockpit. The report said: "It is apparently a usual practice to retract the flaps a soon as possible after landing to minimise the effect they have on cooling radiator airflow." The AAIB noted that there was no safety mechanism fitted to the aircraft to prevent the undercarriage retracting while it was being used on either take off or landing. The aircraft, which was built in 1945, is known as the Rolls-Royce Spitfire and has become widely recognised as an ambassador for Rolls-Royce appearing at air displays and charity events as well as corporate functions. Not only does it represent the heritage of the Spitfire and the Rolls-Royce engines that powered them, it honours the pilots of all nations who flew them and the men and women who built and maintained them. The plane took to the sky again in October last year following a 23-month "extensive refurbishment" which involved major systems and structures being dismantled, inspected, repaired and reassembled. At the time of the incident a spokeswoman for East Midlands Airport said "The aircraft was met by the airport's fire service." After the plane was removed, the runway was inspected before flights resumed. Seven flights due to arrive at the airport from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Tenerife, Aberdeen, Funchal in Madiera and Rzeszow, in Poland, had to be diverted to Birmingham.