Midair crash was 'waiting to happen'

Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013

Relevant offers

National

Police officer jumps into the sea to save kayakers in Auckland Live: Weather wreaks havoc in North Island North Canterbury double-fatal crash victims named Woman who have had 17 surgeries on waiting list for face reconstruction Flurry of light to weak earthquakes in Taupo zone a continuation of earlier swarm Levin Lotto player wins $1 million Kiwi kicks off Trump Forest initiative in honour of US president, a 'dangerous idiot' Truck leaves wet road, hits pine trees Child walks 3km home after being kicked off the bus Cat returned home after three months living in an Auckland graveyard

A former Civil Aviation Authority safety investigation manager believes a midair collision between a helicopter and a small plane over Paraparaumu was an accident waiting to happen.

Peter Kirker, who now works for international aerospace company Lockheed Martin, was giving evidence at the inquest into the crash that killed teenage Cessna pilot Bevan Hook way, 17, examiner David Fielding, 30, and helicopter pilot James Taylor, 19.

Mr Taylor was doing a final test flight with Mr Fielding, when they collided with Mr Hookway's plane on February 17, 2008. Mr Hookway was performing what is called a joining procedure.

The men died when the helicopter fell into the Paraparaumu Placemakers store and the plane crashed into a residential street.

Mr Kirker criticised the CAA for knowing about the risk of such a manoeuvre since 1996 but doing nothing about it. "It is unacceptable that CAA sat on their hands over this."

He said the calculations in reports to Wellington coroner Ian Smith were not quite correct about air speed at the time of the crash, and he felt the pilots had little chance to avoid each other.

He believed the pilots were not to blame and were mostly probably not able to see each other.

He called it an accident waiting to happen. "The risk was unaddressed for years."

Mr Kirker left CAA in December 2011. He was questioned by CAA lawyer Duncan Ferrier about his expertise, despite Mr Ferrier acknowledging he had worked for CAA for some years.

The inquest is expected to finish today.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content