The part-owner of a plane that crashed and killed nine people at Fox Glacier almost two years ago believes its controls jammed or failed.
John Kerr, an experienced pilot and director of Glacier Skydive Air Services, yesterday told the inquest into the September 4, 2010, crash that he disagreed with claims the plane crashed because it was overweight and unbalanced.
Aviation expert Barry Payne has blamed the crash on the plane's centre of gravity being rearward and that it was carrying too much weight for its specifications.
Kerr, who was a pilot for Skydive New Zealand until last year, said the plane's flight manual had been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority but lacked information on weight and balance checks for skydiving.
The company had planned to raise this concern when the plane had its next 100-hour check, which was due in 18 hours' flying time.
He said he could not understand why the authority reissued an airworthiness certificate after the Fletcher plane had been converted if there was a problem with its centre of gravity for skydiving.
The plane's conversion from a topdressing plane to a skydiving aircraft, the fifth Fletcher plane to have such a conversion, had cost more than $120,000, he said.
Engineering company Super Air completed the modifications two months before the crash.
Kerr expressed his sincere condolences to the victims' families and friends. Fairfax NZ
- © Fairfax NZ News
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