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Aircraft flies into Ferris wheel at funfair

April 28, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The world’s only collision between a powered aircraft and a Ferris wheel at a funfair is the subject of a newly published report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). The accident is believed to be unique.

The accident also turned out luckily, as no-one was killed and the only injury was minor. We are not talking about jet aircraft here – it was just a light plane. Even so, the outcome could have been far worse.

It happened, the ATSB relates, on 1 October 2011, when the pilot of a Morgan Aero Works Cheetah Sierra 200 aircraft was attempting to land at the Old Bar Airstrip, a heritage-listed landing strip 11 kilometres from Taree, New South Wales.

After conducting a private flight from Taree Airport, the pilot commenced a go-around after touching down. As the ATSB puts it: “During the climb out, the aircraft collided with a Ferris wheel that was part of a group of amusements located at a beach festival, The aircraft caught in the Ferris Wheel- NSW Police photoadjacent and to the south of the airstrip.”

Two people were aboard the aircraft and four people were happily going around the Ferris wheel at the time of the collision. They were no doubt hoping for a bit of excitement – but not that much.

Remarkably, the only injury was minor, affecting one of the passengers in the aircraft. No one on the Ferris wheel was hurt.

The ATSB found that the management of risk in relation to flight training operations by Recreational Aviation Australia Incorporated (RA-Aus) was adequate; however, it had been circumvented in a number of areas during the training of the pilot.

“That resulted in a pilot operating in the aviation environment who did not possess the required competencies to exercise the privileges of a private pilot certificate,” the ATSB observed.

The ATSB also found that the approach to the management of risk by the Old Bar Beach Festival Committee, specifically relating to aviation operations at the beach festival, was ineffective “and resulted in a level of risk that had the potential to impact on the objectives of the festival”.

To avoid any other aircraft crashing into funfairs, RA-Aus has taken steps to ensure that the flight training facility that undertook the pilot’s training and its staff are aware of the requirements imposed upon them by the RA-Aus Operations Manual, the ATSB noted, “and that RA-Aus staff at the facility have the required skills and knowledge to carry out flight training operations.

“The pilot underwent a flight review that established the need for additional training,” the ATSB said.

Moreover, “the festival and airstrip committees reported that in future the airstrip will be closed and aviation operations suspended when the festival is taking place.”

Damage to the aircraft was listed as “serious”. It didn’t do the Ferris wheel much good either.

Written by : Peter Needham

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