Investigation Pin-Points Cause Of Fatal Maitland Plane Crash

Almost two years on from a fatal plane crash at Maitland, an investigation into the causes has been completed.

The failed test flight of an amateur-built light aircraft back in May, 2020 saw the 44-year-old pilot suffer fatal injuries.

Today the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) published its findings pin-pointing a damaged oil cooler fitting as the likely cause.

Starved of oil, the engine sputtered into a partial failure with the pilot radioing through his intention to return to the runway and land.

But during the approach the engine stalled completely sending the aircraft into a roll before it hit the ground.

In an awful twist of fate, had the pilot attempted an early forced landing instead of trying to make it back to landing strip, the situation may have been very different.

ATSB Director Transport Safety Stuart Macleod said the accident highlights the complexities of managing a partial power loss.

“Pilots can be strongly influenced by the fact the engine is still providing some power, and often by the strong desire to return the aircraft to the runway to avoid damaging the aircraft in a forced landing,” Mr Macleod explained.

“In the event of a partial loss of power, the aircraft should be landed at the earliest possible opportunity and consideration should be given to forced landing options along the flight path.”

The ATSB’s full report is publicly available to view here.

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