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Air Sea 601 Crash in New Zealand - Can anyone see a possible cause?

Guest Pabloako

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Guest Pabloako

Air Sea 601 Crash in New Zealand


Here is a news reports from NZ Herald on 26th May 2008.


I am a new pilot and I am not passing any judgement because we don't have any official investigation findings, but they did a very, very silly thing. My sympathies go out to their families.




'The worst possible night' for flying


10:00AM Monday May 26, 2008


By Elizabeth Binning


Two men who decided to take a microlight for an early-hours joyride in appalling weather made it only 150m from the runway before crashing to their deaths.


Police believe alcohol was a factor in the accident, which killed senior Wairoa Aero Club members Antony Donald Bell, 30, and Darren John McNay, 39.


Recreational Aircraft Association of New Zealand CEO Ian Sinclair said Microlights were not allowed to fly during night-time hours, according to Civil Aviation Authority regulations.


He said restrictions and limitations on when and where microlights could be flown were placed on them when they came under CAA regulations.


"Because they are a different class of machine, one of them was flying at night, the other was flying over built-up populations," he said.


Mr Sinclair said it was hard for him to make objective comment over about the accident, ahead of the CAA investigation.


"These things need to come out in a proper accident investigation," he said.


Mr Bell and Mr McNay died when their Air Sea 601 microlight crashed after taking off from Wairoa Airport about 3.15am yesterday.


It is understood the men may have been drinking at a party before deciding to take the flight, in weather conditions that included heavy showers, lightning and patches of fog.


A Civil Aviation Authority investigation is under way into the crash.


Both men leave behind widows. Mr McNay is believed to have children, and Mr Bell's wife is due to give birth to their first child in the next few months.


Sergeant Christopher Flood said the men took off from the airport in a northerly direction, while a friend stayed at the hangar.


At 4.30am, when the microlight had not returned, the friend called police and a search was launched. The crashed microlight was found at first light.


Wairoa Aero Club secretary Richard Tollison said Mr Bell - who worked on a family dairy farm - had been a microlight flight instructor for a number of years. He also used to be qualified to instruct on domestic aviation aircraft such as Cessnas.


Mr McNay was the club's president and worked as a stock agent for Elders.


Mr Tollison said Mr Bell and Mr McNay had become friends through the club and, because they were senior members, had keys to the hangar.


Mr Tollison said it was not common for people to fly at night but if they did, the conditions had to be right. That was not the case on Saturday night.


"Normally at night you would be flying on a moonlit night but not in weather like last night; it was basically pouring with rain - the worst possible night, most probably."


Mr Tollison said he was aware that there would be a perception of two reckless young guys going out for a joyride flight after a few drinks, but what happened was "completely out of character".


"We are shocked because Antony especially was really responsible in the position that he has with the instructing. He was always ... on the ball and being conscientious about safety, so it's a very big surprise about what happened.


"It's sort of completely out of character. I don't know what to say actually. It's a bit of a shocker."


Wairoa is a small club with about 12 members. It owns one aircraft but others were either privately owned or - like the one that crashed - leased.


Mr Tollison said it was too early to say how members would farewell Mr Bell and Mr McNay.


"We are still in a bit of disarray and shock as to what's happened.



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We normally don't speculate on these things, but even very inexperienced pilots would be able to find a few things here that shouldn't be emulated. How sad it is for the relatives and friends, and a great waste. Nev



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