What happened

On 1 October 2011, the pilot of a Morgan Aero Works Cheetah Sierra 200 aircraft (Sierra), registered 24-7634, was attempting to land at the Old Bar Airstrip after conducting a private flight from Taree Airport, New South Wales.

The pilot commenced a go-around after touching down. During the climb out the aircraft collided with a ferris wheel that was part of a group of amusements located at a beach festival, adjacent and to the south of the airstrip.

There were two persons on board the Sierra and four occupants of the ferris wheel at the time of the collision. There were no reported injuries from the occupants of the ferris wheel, and the passenger in the Sierra reported receiving a minor injury.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the management of risk in relation to flight training operations by Recreational Aviation Australia Incorporated (RA-Aus) was adequate; however, it had been circumvented in a number of areas during the training of the pilot. That resulted in a pilot operating in the aviation environment who did not possess the required competencies to exercise the privileges of a private pilot certificate.

The ATSB also found that the approach to the management of risk by the Old Bar Beach Festival Committee, specifically relating to aviation operations at the beach festival, was ineffective and resulted in a level of risk that had the potential to impact on the objectives of the festival.

What's been done as a result

RA-Aus have taken steps to ensure that the flight training facility that undertook the pilot’s training and its staff are aware of the requirements imposed upon them by the RA-Aus Operations Manual, and that RA-Aus staff at the facility have the required skills and knowledge to carry out flight training operations. The pilot underwent a flight review that established the need for additional training.

The festival and airstrip committees reported that in future the airstrip will be closed and aviation operations suspended when the festival is taking place.

Safety message

The management of risk in aviation requires diligence and structure to be effective. In particular, when aviation activities are part of a public event the supporting procedures, processes and guidelines need to be carefully developed and applied to manage risk to those choosing to participate in the aviation environment and to others external to the aviation activity.