No technical defects found in preliminary investigation into Offaly plane crash

THE preliminary investigation into the crash of a light aircraft in Offaly on November 11 last which claimed the lives of the two people on board has so far found no technical defect that might have contributed to the accident.

THE preliminary investigation into the crash of a light aircraft in Offaly on November 11 last which claimed the lives of the two people on board has so far found no technical defect that might have contributed to the accident.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) is investigating the circumstances of the accident near Birr Airfield which claimed the lives of instructor Niall Doherty from Roscrea and trainee pilot Damien Deegan from Crinkle when the Cessna F150H in which they were flying came down in a wooded area.

The preliminary report outlines how the aircraft conducted six flights at Birr Airfield on the day of the accident adding that on each occasion there were two pilots on board, the Instructor and another. The first series of three flights, each of one hour duration, was recorded as having commenced at 10.15 hrs and concluded at 14.00 hrs. Birr Airfield records showed that the aircraft was being refuelled at 14.05 hrs with 43.08 litres of AVGAS 100LL. It was reported by two witnesses that this brought the fuel quantity to the standard club fuel load of 60 litres.

The report states that following this, three training details ensued with the same Instructor but with different students. The third detail, the accident flight, entailed circuit training with the Student pilot. Following a touch-and-go landing on Runway (RWY) 18 the aircraft was observed by witnesses to climb away. At 16.44 hrs during the climb out witnesses heard the engine stop and observed the aircraft make a steep descending turn to the left before disappearing from view.

The Emergency Services were contacted and due to approaching darkness and the black colour of the aircraft the accident site proved difficult to find. A Garda helicopter subsequently located the accident site at 18.04 hrs using a thermal imaging camera and directed ground search teams.

The report continues, “Examination of the accident site, which was located approximately 350 metres southeast of the end of RWY 18, showed that the aircraft initially impacted heavily in a northerly direction with a nose down attitude, more or less wings level. The nose landing gear detached and the aircraft came to rest inverted a short distance from the point of initial impact.”

It adds that the investigation found no evidence of any substantial fuel deposit at the accident site although a small amount leaked from the inverted wreckage when raised during the recovery operation.

The on-going Investigation will include further examination of the aircraft and engine as well as operational aspects and conduct of the flight and a final report will be published in due course.

.

{http://www.aaiu.ie/sites/default/files/report-attachments/Preliminary%20Report%202012-022_0.pdf|To view the full Preliminary Report on the AAIU website click here}