19 Feb 2011

Topdressing crash report cites overloading

8:00 am on 19 February 2011

An accident report on a plane crash that killed a topdressing pilot in Taranaki says the aircraft was probably overloaded for the changing wind direction.

The plane struck a fence before hitting a hillside in Tarata near Inglewood on 14 December 2008.

The Civil Aviation Authority says the pilot could have been under some self-imposed time pressure to get the job done because the weather was due to deteriorate the next day.

Before the crash, the experienced 48-year-old pilot had reported he was finding it difficult to release the lime fertiliser from the aircraft.

He managed to jettison some of the lime load after taking off from the grass airstrip.

The pilot was wearing a harness and a helmet but died from injuries sustained during the impact.

The Civil Aviation Authority says it is continuing its extensive review of safety in the topdressing industry.