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Warbird pilot sues organisers

 
 
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The pilot of the Yak-3 aircraft that crashed at the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow last Easter is taking the show organisers to court.

 

Arthur Dovey told the Otago Daily Times this week a writ had been filed in the High Court at Wellington claiming damages for the cost of repairing his aircraft.

Mr Dovey said the claim was against Warbirds over Wanaka Airshows Ltd, which is owned by the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust.

Four individuals involved in the running of the show were also named in the writ, Mr Dovey said.

 

Yak-3 pilot Arthur Dovey signals he is unhurt after the aircraft he was landing collided with a cherry picker on the grass runway at Warbirds over Wanaka in March last year. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Yak-3 pilot Arthur Dovey signals he is unhurt after the aircraft he was landing collided with a cherry picker on the grass runway at Warbirds over Wanaka in March last year. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

 

Trust general manager Ed Taylor confirmed the legal action in relation to the ''landing incident''.

''The trust does not accept the claim and will be defending the proceedings,'' he said.

A claim has also been laid against the New Zealand Defence Department which had a role at the airshow.

Mr Dovey and another pilot were asked to open the show on March 31 when two United States air force F-16s based at Christchurch were delayed by bad weather.

After his display, Mr Dovey landed on a grass area north of the sealed runway, hitting two 8-tonne cherry pickers positioned there as part of the show's light aircraft pyrotechnic display that was to follow the opening.

He was uninjured, but the aircraft was badly damaged.

Mr Dovey maintains that during the morning briefing before the show, pilots were not warned of the cherry pickers and no restriction was placed on where planes could land.

When landing a 1940s-era Soviet-made Yak-3, the pilot has restricted forward vision because of the aircraft's extended nose and three-point landing attitude.

Mr Dovey said those named had until January 25 to lodge a defence.

A Civil Aviation Authority accident report on the crash is being prepared.

Mr Dovey has been flying for more than 50 years and has owned the Yak-3 for about 13 years. It is one of fewer than 10 in the world still flying and is estimated to be worth well over $1 million.

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Ridiculous having Equipment on an airfield 

Equally  Ridiculous Not checking his landing objective (area).

I hope they can settle "out-of-court" & cut some of that expense down.

spacesailor

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It seems to me that he has a case. Putting a cherry picker beside a runway is a classic and avoidable latent error. The flipside is that, much as pilots malign the effect that lawsuits have had on flying, it is pilots and their (often grieving) families who have been doing much of the suing. 

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I recall that when we were talking about this incident back in March, the consensus was that putting obstructions beside the runway was asking for trouble.

 

I hope that Mr Dovey has good records of the content of the briefing, or other pilots have good memories of it.

  • Agree 1

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There is culpability on both sides here. Yes he has a point that the cherry pickers should not have been there or at the briefing that fact should have been clearly communicated to the display pilots & the grass be out of bounds. There was room though but he chose to land to the right.  He is the pilot and is responsible for ensuring that his landing area or runway is clear of all obstacles. At the short final approach the nose would have been high so his view if the runway ahead would have been restricted, however after turning on to final he would have had a good view of the whole runway for some considerable time. A Yak 3 like all WW2 tail draggers with V12 engines is a heavy beast and requires a pretty long final approach. The lawyers as always will be the winners.

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I don't think the yak landed on either runway, the big orange things could have been a aircraft holding.

images.jpeg

  • Informative 1

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Posted (edited)

The New Zealand Tort on negligence is based on the same legal precedent; Donoghue v Stevenson as Australia, so the results of this case will be of interest to us.

It's also roughly similar to the ferris wheel placement at Old Bar.

https://en-nz.oxbridgenotes.com/revision_notes/law-univerity-of-otago-laws301-law-of-torts/samples/negligence-duty-of-care

 

Edited by turboplanner

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As someone who has set up airshow pyro for many years there has always been a 200 foot stand off from the runways. Notam is issued for the show and some days before to include the set up. I remember doing the Bundaberg show (world record wall of fire) Notam issued and double xx marker on the grass runway as we had explosives set up! We also had personnel and vehicles on the runway. But that did not deter a light twin from putting down and running between the show items.  I was the one who gave pilot briefings on most occasions and all pyro, standoff distances, flight line and show lines were explained. Site plan issued as well.  All good.  I would be sure the same procedures would occur elsewhere.

For those interested look up you tube world record wall of fire at Bundy for the Guiness Book of Records show. I don't know how to link it, only how to blow stuff up. Ken

  • Agree 1

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Fantastic (wall of fire) show.

When will you try for that new record?.

A lot of people seem to miss a good show & hear about it later.

spacesailor

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Space sailor, While our wall of fire was 1127mts it only stood for a short time as the Yanks didn't like this so did a 2.5k. To take the record. Our show replicated a Napalm strike (very involved to do as we had to ensure our rolling wave did not go supersonic so liaised with an ARDU scientist and explosives engineers to keep the front subsonic, even though each explosion is supersonic in itself) the Yanks just used det cord to ignite the whole thing at once (way easier).

the only disappointment was altering a display with the Hunter due to mech troubles.  So we used One of our "regular" jet guys to do that part of the show.  The Hunter sure is something else; unfortunately we will never get to work with it now. Ken

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Only to be expected (the yanks taking Our record ) 

Did they make a record at Oshkosh "number's of aircraft landing within one hour".

I heard after a rain delay, the light-weight aircraft were disobeying Air-traffic -control and coming  in "Nose to tail, staggered. All trying to beat "last-light".

spacesailor

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