A cockpit video recording of a fatal plane crash at Arrowtown golf course has helped determine the cause of the accident.
In a Civil Aviation Authority preliminary report released today (Tuesday), investigators conclude that the reason why the Cessna Skyhawk went down on October 17 was due to loss of control after an aborted landing.
Tauranga pilot Ian Sloan, 59, died when his plane nose-dived on to the golf course. His passengers – step-son Wayne Candy and friend Joan Urquhart – were seriously injured.
Three days after the crash, Mountain Scene revealed that cattle were on the grass airstrip at the time of Sloan’s attempted landing.
The CAA report confirms that he had tried to clear the strip of cattle before returning to approach, attempting to land from the opposite direction.
Sitting in the front seat and using his iPhone, Candy recorded the approach, attempted landing and subsequent take-off – which “failed to gain any appreciable altitude and shortly thereafter stalled during a left turn”, the report says.
“A video taken by the passenger indicates that the pilot was having to contend with moderate crosswind conditions and turbulence from higher terrain on the southern side of the airstrip.
“The aircraft is then observed to have touched down approximately 250 metres into the 450m airstrip followed shortly after by the pilot applying full power and attempting to take off in the remaining runway distance available.”
It was during Sloan’s left turn – putting the plane further out of the prevailing wind direction – that it failed to gain altitude and stalled. It rolled further to the left, clipping a tree on the way down and impacted with the ground.
Sloan had a total of 315 hours’ flying experience. He was issued a private pilot’s licence in 1976 and re-issued an updated ticket in April last year.
CAA’s investigation continues and will include examination of the aircraft’s maintenance history, Sloan’s background and experience, prevailing weather conditions and possible human factors that might have influenced Sloan’s decision-making.
A final report will be prepared for the Coroner.