Tue, May 22, 2007
Aircraft Suffers Apparent Engine Failure On Takeoff
A Perth, Australia pilot
was injured this weekend, when his homebuilt Bede Aircraft BD-5
went down seconds after takeoff Sunday.
Witnesses said the tiny plane (file photo of type, right)
impacted the runway seconds after it became airborne, due to
apparent engine failure. The aircraft came down on its belly,
skidded off the end of the runway and caught fire.
Pilot Peter Gilbertson was extricated from the aircraft by
spectators and airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital with spinal
injuries and burns, according to The West Australian.
The accident occurred during the annual Sport Aircraft
Association WA Chapter fly-in in Northam, Australia. Northam Aero
Club president Tony Rees said more than 100 people were in
attendance and about 40 aircraft were participating.
"The plane landed very heavily," Rees said. "A couple of members
raced over with fire extinguishers and dragged the pilot out."
The fire was doused within minutes, but at least two rescuers
suffered minor burns.
Another witness said it appeared the plane had run into problems
prior to take-off.
"There seemed to be a bit of trouble when they were starting it
but eventually it got going," the witness said. "Three planes took
off together but that plane just basically lost power and dropped
out of the sky. It skidded about 80m to 100m off the runway and
caught fire. There were guys running across to get the pilot out
and we thought it would explode any minute."
He said Gilbertson appeared to be conscious and talking when he
was extricated from the aircraft.
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