Wednesday 20 September 2017

Pilot only reported flying into power line days later

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

A PILOT who struck overhead lines and left 11 homes without power for more than five hours failed to immediately report the accident to authorities.

A report from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) found that the unnamed 33-year-old male pilot only told the safety agency that the power line was struck "some days" after the incident, contrary to safety regulations.

The pilot, who was travelling with his father, was in command of a microlight aircraft on April 20 last five-miles north of Garristown in Co Meath when the accident occurred.

While conducting an approach to land his aircraft in a field, he made contact with and severed two ESB power lines.

COLLAPSE

"The pilot performed a go-around and returned to a local private airstrip where, during the landing rollout, the port side main undercarriage assembly collapsed. There were no injuries," the report said.

"Following an extensive search through various means, including Dublin Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the aircraft was identified some days later. The pilot, on being contacted by the IAA, subsequently made contact with the AAIU advising that he had been involved in an occurrence.

"The aircraft was examined by an AAIU Engineering Inspector at Barstown airstrip some days after the occurrence.

"The pilot did not initially report the occurrence to the AAIU and furthermore, the aircraft was moved from its final resting position and parts were removed without permission being sought from the AAIU," the report added.

A homeowner told investigators he heard an aircraft fly very low over his house.

BOUNCED

"In his opinion the aircraft first struck the power line in his garden, which 'bounced up and down for a significant period of time after the aircraft had left'.

"The aircraft continued into the adjacent field and struck/severed a set of power lines; there was no flash or bang."

ESB networks confirmed that 11 houses were without power for more than five hours, and 100 metres of line had to be replaced.

The pilot, who held a valid UK licence, should also have transferred his licence here, or applied to the IAA for it to be validated.

The report, which did not make any safety recommendations, said the pilot and his father were "extremely fortunate" that the outcome was not more serious.

Irish Independent

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