Six days after the crash of a Dromader single engine air tanker that killed pilot David Black, government investigators have reached the crash site. Firefighters built a helispot in the steep, rugged terrain, but strong winds prevented helicopters from flying the investigators into the area.
Below is an excerpt from the Guardian:
“…Seven other models of the same fixed-wing aircraft were grounded on Wednesday by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority as a precaution.
David Black, 43, died when his Dromader aircraft crashed in Budawang national park, 40 kilometres west of Ulladulla, about 10am on Thursday.
A witness saw one of the plane’s wings fall off before the aircraft plummeted.
Fire risks and rough terrain meant investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found it difficult to reach the crash site but on Wednesday a team of four got there.
“Rural fire service teams had completed clearing a helicopter landing site nearby. However, the site has not been accessible until today due to ongoing high winds,” a bureau spokesman said.
On the same day a Casa spokesman, Peter Gibson, announced that seven Dromaders had been grounded.
“It’s a precaution to make sure there aren’t any problems with the wings or other structures on the aircraft,” he said.
The aircraft were used for crop dusting in NSW and Queensland, Gibson said, and could be contracted for water bombing.
In April the bureau released a report after investigations into three fatal incidents involving Dromader aircraft.
On each occasion the aircraft were carrying increased weight and the bureau found associated safety risks, despite approval being granted for operation at takeoff weights of more than 4200kg.
The report outlined operating limitations under higher loads and recommended increased awareness among pilots.”