Funnel Bay Tiger Moth crash: Bird strike ruled out as cause
BIRD strike has been ruled out as the cause behind a Whitsunday Tiger Moth crash at Funnel Bay, an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report has found.
On July 2 pilot Nick Rorison was forced to land his de Havilland DH-82A aircraft, with passenger Steve Bell on board, on mudflats after the propeller failed.
Neither of the men was seriously injured, and Mr Rorison was applauded for his response by the Whitsunday and aviation community.
The report, released last week, was unable to definitively determine why the propeller failed.
It had been believed that a bird strike may have caused the propeller to fail, as on-board video footage had shown the camera being "knocked by something flying back”.
However, the report said there was no evidence of bird strike when the footage was reviewed frame by frame.
Small parts of the propeller that were retrieved held no bird remains.
While the propeller manufacturer said a failure was indicative of an "overspeed”, this could not be confirmed as the propeller broke off over the water and most of it couldn't be retrieved.
The report stated that "the factors contributing to the propeller failure could not be determined by the timber fragments”.
It also suggested the pilot, Mr Rorison, had done well to scope out an alternative landing area once he realised the plane would not make it back to the runway at Shute Harbour.
"The pilot had a secondary plan to land on the beach at Funnel Bay,” it stated.
"This incident highlights the value of always having a consideration of landing areas available in case a forced landing is required. Alerting air traffic control as emergencies arise enables them to provide the necessary and appropriate assistance.”
While the pilot had been doing aerobatics prior to the failure, the report found the types of aerobatic manoeuvres conducted during the flight were all permitted for the aircraft.
The ATSB pointed out that commercial vintage aircraft operators should be aware of the risks associated with aircraft age and the importance of understanding the "originally-intended use of the design” before beginning their operations.
Mr Rorison did not wish to comment on the reports' findings.