26 Oct 2011

Opposite landings now discouraged since fatal crash

12:53 pm on 26 October 2011

The Civil Aviation Authority says it is actively discouraging aerodromes from allowing planes to land from opposing directions.

The CAA has been giving evidence at an inquest into the deaths of three people in a mid-air collision over Paraparaumu in early 2008.

Trainee pilot James Taylor and his examiner David Fielding, were killed when their helicopter and a Cessna, being flown solo by Bevan Hookway, 17, collided.

Mr Hookway had only five hours of experience flying solo.

CAA aviation general manager John Lanham says aerodromes are being urged to think very carefully about whether they allow opposing circuits, which can lead to head-on collisions.

He says it is better for all aircraft to be on the same circuit, as Paraparaumu airport has introduced in the wake of the three deaths.

Mr Lanham says the airport is also now separating helicopters and fixed-wing traffic by about 60 metres to further improve safety.