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I hate this sort of news...

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What can we possibly make of this sort of news...??? The very type of incident that none of us want to happen nor see in the media: i.e. apparent stupidity by people who should know better... An aero club President and an experienced instructor.


I know we shouldn't speculate until all the facts are known, but geez, how can you put any positive spin on this one? (With deep sympathy to the families, nevetheless):


Extract from "One News" NZ:


Alcohol possible factor in crash


May 25, 2008 8:26 AM


Police believe two Hawke's Bay men may have been drinking before taking off in a microlight aircraft early on Sunday morning.


Wairoa Aero Club president Darren McNay and instructor Anthony Bell were killed when their Air Sea 601 crashed in the darkness in Wairoa.


Alcohol will be one of the factors investigated following the fatal microlight crash.


"I understand it was a private function, somewhere out of town but inquiries are still continuing as far as that goes," says Sergeant Chris Flood, Wairo Police.


Inspector Ian Harris says the time of night McNay and Bell chose to get behind the controls could be an indicator of alcohol playing a part in the fatal crash.


Both men were qualified - one was an instructor and the other a pilot.


They took off from Wairoa Aerodrome at around 3.15 am Sunday.


No emergency beacon was activated on the aircraft, but the alarm was raised at 4.30am by a third man at the base waiting for them to return.


Police said weather conditions were especially atrocious at the time of takeoff.


The aircraft with the bodies on board was found just 120 metres from the northern end of the runway.


Video: http://tvnz.co.nz/view/video_popup_windows_skin/1796728



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3 am! cloudy, rainy and foggy! and drunk..... amazing what alcohol and peer pressure can do!


though i wouldnt class a CH601 as a Microlight.


sad thing is i can see the big tarred brush coming for us now!



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Guest airsick

Sad thing about this is that if someone wraps their car around a pole while they are drunk then they get labelled an idiot. One pilot wraps his ultralight around the proverbial pole and all ultralight pilots get labelled idiots.



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Guest Bretto
Sad thing about this is that if someone wraps their car around a pole while they are drunk then they get labelled an idiot. One pilot wraps his ultralight around the proverbial pole and all ultralight pilots get labelled idiots.

I don't agree, i see these 2 guys actions as being foolish and stupid and they paid the ultimate price for there actions

As far as rest of ultralight pilots go i don't see them as being idiots, i'd like to think that most pilots who pilot our skies are sensible level headed people who refrain from stupidious behaviour



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Guest High Plains Drifter

How reliable is the news source ?


If many Oz news services carnt get the facts straight on air crashs, why would the NZ lot be any diferent.


Probably pay to read the initial investigater report before talking too much hot air.





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Like I said: "I know we shouldn't speculate until all the facts are known, but geez, how can you put any positive spin on this one?"


No degree of crook reporting could get the facts completely wrong on this one, based on the aero club member interviewed in the video and pictures of conditions on the same morning..



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Guest High Plains Drifter
how can you put any positive spin on this one

I agree bushpilot, carnt really put a positive spin on any fatality.


I'm just thinking of the many Kiwi posters on this forum - might be a close rely or friend of the acciedent victims around.


From my (limited) experience of NZ weather conditions, it can go from fairly fine to bad very quickly. The conditions half an hour later may not be indicative of the weather at the time of the aciedent.





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There's no good side to this story. The weather was atrocious. I was visiting the region for the weekend to play in a band and there were strong winds and torrential rain for days before and after particularly at night. The wedding I was playing at was shifted indoors two days earlier


One guy was a family man of 3 the other's wife is due to have their first child in a month or two.


One was an instructor, the other the club president. Only serious mind-altered impairment would get any small plane up in those conditions.


there's been some needless aviation tragedies in this country lately. i dread to think what the reaction will be



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I cannot recall ever meeting a pilot who flew when he had been drinking, that is of course only in the 40 odd years I have been involved with flying.


Now having said that I remember one pilot who did fly after drinking. He was a good friend, but sadly long gone. He was a chopper pilot, off duty and overnighting at Heron Island. Distress flares were seen and he discussed going to the aid of the person who let off the flares with the resort manager. He and the manager decided to help and flew into the water in the dark. That was a man who gave his life in an effort to help a distressed sailor. The bad part of the story is that the flares were set off by a prankster.



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I'm also a NZ pilot and none of my pilot friends can understand how this happened. The weather was bad and from reports the aircraft was not equiped for night flying and of course if it was registered as a microlight the rules are day VFR only.


We all just hope that Civil Aviation Authority sees it for what it appears to be. An aberration! Microlight flying in NZ is largely self regulated and we all enjoy a level of freedom that still exists in light recreational flying.


This is very sad and our sympathy and condolences go out to the family and friends of the pilots.



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As far as I'm concerned what they did, if the facts are true, was nothing less than a very selfish act that leaves only victims behind which such includes their families.


That's with whom our pity should lie.


I won't apoligise if my words seem harsh or offend someone because I meant what I said.


I lost a few years ago a very dear friend and his son in a freak plane accident, they didn't have a choice or a chance to survive but here we have 2 experienced pilots who had a choice but chose to fly with all the odds against them.


Their actions in my view were basically no different to that of playing Russian Roulette with a load gun.


All I can hope for the families of these men and all aviators that some good comes out of these guys deaths and that is no pilot should ever again be so dam stupid to try to do the same thing again.





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Police have released the names of the two men killed in a microlight crash in northern Hawkes Bay in the early hours of Sunday morning.


They are Darren McNay, 39 and Anthony Bell, 30, both of Wairoa.


Police search and rescue found the Airsea 601 at Wairoa just before 7.30am on Sunday.


Police say the two took off for a look around the area at 3.15am on Sunday in poor weather conditions and the aircraft crashed about 400 metres from the runway.


Inspector Ian Harris says the owner of the microlight was an experienced pilot but all the men had been drinking.


An air accident team is investigating but Inspector Harris says alcohol is a possible factor.


He says police are keen to hear from anyone who might have heard or spotted the aircraft.


Wairoa aeroclub secretary Richard Tollison says he has no idea why the two men would have tried to fly at night.


He says the 30-year-old man was the club's instructor and the 39-year-old, the president.


Mr Tollison says the microlight they were using is more like a small plane, with navigational lighting, but he still can't believe they'd fly at night.


He says the men were not excessive drinkers and they would have known they would need a lit runway to fly in the dark.


Mr Tollison says he went to the aerodrome at about 5.20am on Sunday and the hangar doors were open and the plane wasn't there.


He says the deaths of the men will leave a huge hole in the club.


Enough said.



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Guest Rocko

Any bad media is bad media for everyone.


That's how the media works.


And how the government reacts.





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Police said all the men had been drinking.


Where any of them there when the two took off?


What would you do in that situation? one of your friends is going to fly and you know he has been drinking? I would like to think I would stop him, but who can tell when it really happens?



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  • 1 year later...

Unbeleivable. Candidates for the Darwin Award for 2008 surely!. Thank god they didn't kill anyone else.


Pilots heavily intoxicated before Wairoa crash - CAANZPA


November 19, 2009, 5:52 pm






Two men who died in a microlight crash in northern Hawke's Bay last year were drunk, a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) investigation has found.




Each was said to have downed 20 beers before taking to the air, the investigation said today,




Darren John McNay, 39, and Antony Donald Bell, 30, both of Wairoa, left Wairoa Aerodrome in the microlight about 3.15am on May 25.




Mr McNay, a pilot with 220 flight hours, and Mr Bell, an instructor with 560 flight hours, died after the microlight crashed about 400 metres from the runway.




The two men had been drinking at a party before taking the microlight out in the dark.




A third person, who had also been at the party, raised the alarm, after they did not return. Searchers found the wreckage about 7.30am.




Both men were heavily intoxicated at the time of the crash, the CAA report said.




Mr Bell's blood alcohol level was 320 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood and Mr McNay's 236 milligrams.




The legal limit for driving a car is 80 milligrams.




Tests also indicated Mr McNay had used cannabis before the flight.




Their friend, who raised the alarm, told police they had drunk about 20 beers each before the flight.




Strong winds, passing rain and poor visibility created unsuitable conditions for the plane to be flying, the report said.




``This would have been a challenging flight even if the instructor and the pilot's performance had not been impaired.''




Mr McNay had no night flying experience and Mr Bell, though previously rated to fly at night, was not at the time certified to carry passengers or instruct in night flying.




The plane was not certified to fly at night, the report said.




``It is probable that the pilot and the instructor became spatially disorientated after losing reference to the ground lights and/or flying into low cloud or rain.''




A post mortem found both men died from injuries sustained in the impact, which likely happened on their return to the runway, the report said.

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The reality is that with a mixture of narcotics and a LARGE amount of alcohol, they would be "XXXXed out of their minds". Rational decision making is out of the question here. They had long passed that point. Their ability to fly on instruments would be non-existant, under these circumstances if they EVER had a chance of flying in those conditions. A pity that a few of the others there at the time could not have restrained them.


There are quite a few examples of "alcoholic" pilots flying regular operations. It was pretty chronic with some of the old guard ex-ww2 Russians who flew for Aeroflot, and they were so "trained" in their ability to hold alcohol. that it wouldn't show noticeably. I would suggest that a few PNG pilots who had done a lot of time amongst the fluffy clouds with big rocks in them, used the secret bottle to provide the courage required, too. Nev



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Guest Walter Buschor

If all this is correct than the outcome for these two clowns was totally predictable and as far as they are concerned there is nothing sad about it. They got what they asked for.


There are no pills for stupidity.


I do agree though that accidents like this one should not reflect on the rest of us.


stay safe





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Pi$$ed. stoned, in the dark, unlit runway, 3am, in bad conditions. Is someone having a lend??..


Surely this is some sort of beat up?? How could any amount of alcohol and weed impair someone so much to even think this could be a good idea?? The outcome was the ONLY one possible. There was no other option.


Even if you remove any 3 or 4 of the factors, the same outcome was highly probable.


We are currently planning a Christmas party at the club (airfield) and dealing with CASA as to the legalities. When someone suggested removing the aircraft keys from the airfield i thought it was a bit over the top.


Im Stunned...



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