25 Oct 2011

Coroner queries risky flying of teenager

7:53 pm on 25 October 2011

Wellington coroner Ian Smith has expressed surprise that a young pilot was permitted to fly solo from a busy airport with just five hours' solo experience.

Trainee pilot James Taylor and his instructor David Fielding died instantly when their helicopter collided with a Cessna plane above Paraparaumu in February 2008.

The student pilot in the Cessna, 17-year-old Bevan Hookway, died later in hospital.

At an inquest today, Mr Smith described Mr Hookway's flying out of Paraparaumu Airport with so little experience as a risky venture, given the fact it was a "massively busy" airport.

"The two don't match," he said.