Kirkham plane crash pilot praised

Picture: Ashleigh Tullis
Picture: Ashleigh Tullis

Phoenix Aero Club head of operations Ben Holloway has praised the actions of the young pilot involved in yesterday’s light plane crash in Kirkham.

The Piper Cherokee (VH-SWV) plane operated by Phoenix Aero Club was only 1.5 kilometres from the Camden Airport when it crashed at 11am yesterday in an Aerodrome Road resident’s backyard, across the road from the Mater Dei school.

It had taken off from runway 06 at the airport minutes earlier.

The pilot and his passenger remain in Liverpool Hospital in a stable condition.

Mr Holloway said the 24-year-old pilot had flown with Phoenix Aero Club for the past seven years and completed his training with the organisation.

Mr Holloway believes mechanical failure, not pilot error, caused the crash.

“The pilot did a fantastic job, he was doing the right thing,” he said.

“I think his experience was why there was such a good outcome.

“He flew quite regularly.”

Mr Holloway said he did not know the exact reason the plane crashed.

“The aircraft was up to date with maintenance and the engine is less than six months old,” he said.

Mr Holloway said pilots from the Phoenix Aero Club were trained to deal with dangerous situations.

“The school has been established for 40 years and our training program comes from the Civil Avaition Safety Authority,” he said.

“It was probably [the pilots] training that stopped something worse from happening.”

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and police are investigating the incident.