Masterton councillors to discuss fatal crash report

7:47 pm on 21 November 2022
The cordon on Hughes Line after two planes collided mid-air about a kilometre south of Hood Aerodrome in June, 2019. PHOTO/ELI HILL

The cordon on Hughes Line after two planes collided mid-air about a kilometre south of Hood Aerodrome in June, 2019. Photo: ELI HILL

Masterton's elected members are set to discuss a report detailing a fatal two-plane crash near the council-owned Hood Aerodrome.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission [TAIC] Inquiry came out earlier this month after a lengthy investigation process.

It followed the mid-air collision of two aircraft on June 16, 2019, as both were preparing to land at the aerodrome.

Both pilots were killed in the collision, and both planes were destroyed.

The TAIC inquiry found one pilot was flying a non-standard and non-compliant join to the circuit, and this was how they had been instructed to join.

Local pilots were aware of the non-standard join, which had become accepted practice at the aerodrome.

The inquiry also found that non-certificated aerodromes [such as Hood Aerodrome], and aerodrome managers did not have the same level of regulatory oversight and support as certificated aerodromes.

There was also no communication between the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] and other regulatory and local bodies as to the responsibilities and support required for the safe operation of unattended aerodrome, their operators, and managers.

A report to Masterton District Council's [MDC] Audit and Risk Committee, which meets on Wednesday, states a number of actions had been taken by the council since the mid-air collision.

MDC directed the closure of runway 06L/24R and an updated aerodrome chart was issued on March 26, 2020 to reflect the changes.

The council had also bolstered its incident reporting capability, enabling both direct and anonymous reports to be made.

Any reports would initially be managed by the aerodrome manager with potential feedback to the aerodrome user group representatives.

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An aerodrome safety review and a safety survey was also undertaken by two independent organisations, as well as an external health and safety audit.

A draft Safety Management System manual was also completed and is awaiting MDC approval for implementation.

"Implementation of the Safety Management System is a key piece of work in delivering a safe and successful aerodrome, and its timing is linked to the anticipated direction by CAA for us to become a qualifying aerodrome as a result of the recent aeronautical study," the council report said.

For Wednesday's committee meeting, elected members have been asked to accept the report on the TAIC Inquiry, and note the findings and recommendations in the report.

Hood Aerodrome has been identified as a strategic asset by MDC and the findings, safety consideration, and recommendations are key to its operation and continued value and success, MDC said.

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