News

Dead pilot cleared of blame by coroner

AUSTRALIA'S air safety and crash investigation systems failed at almost every level when an innocent pilot was falsely blamed for a fatal Mary Valley plane crash, a Gympie Coroner has found.

Coroner Maxine Baldwin's findings, delivered in Maroochydore on Monday, were scathing of processes adopted by authorities ranging from Gympie police to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Mrs Baldwin found too many people had accepted the word of the aircraft's manufacturer, who had lied about its weight to minimise registration costs.

Police had relied too heavily on investigations by others, the coroner found. Those others had not carried out good enough investigations.

One of those who accepted the manufacturer's advice was an engineer who had modified the aircraft's balance without knowing its true weight - about 200kg more than that shown on registration documents.

Contrary to earlier findings, Mrs Baldwin said the plane was malfunctioning at the time of the crash and "the pilot (Barry Joseph Uscinski) could not reasonably have recovered the aircraft at such low altitude in the circumstances".

Mrs Baldwin found Dr Uscinski died from multiple injuries when his craft, an 80% scale Spitfire replica, crashed on October 22, 2010, on approach to Gympie's Kybong aerodrome.

Mrs Baldwin was scathing about the evidence of aircraft manufacturing chief executive Michael O'Sullivan, of Supermarine Aircraft Pty Ltd.

She said he had covered up the aircraft's excessive weight with "knowingly falsified documents" so he could register the plane under the less stringent requirements of Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus), which administered registrations of ultra light and light sports aircraft.

Mrs Baldwin recommended RA-Aus introduce a system of random checks on registration information and impose exemplary punishment on Mr O'Sullivan.

CASA should review its expectations of RA-Aus and conduct random audits. And police should improve procedures to ensure better security for exhibits, she also recommended.

Gympie Times

Topics:  coroner, pilot




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Caitlyn Shadbolt takes on the US

Gympie girl Caitlyn Shadbolt's music career continues to heat up as she prepares to perform in the United States and release her debut album.

Caitlyn is dipping into international fan pool.

Regional roads among the most dangerous for drivers

RACQ calls for upgrade funding measures that can help save lives.

Goomeri Pumpkin Festival program for Sunday

Fun at last year’s Goomeri Pumpkin Festival during the great pumpkin roll.

Goomeri Pumpkin Festival Program on Sunday

Latest deals and offers


10 Things You Absolutely Have to do in Gympie in Autumn

NUMBER 7: Go beach camping at Inskip Point this autumn and you can watch the whales off Rainbow Beach or Double Island Point.

10 Things You Absolutely Have to do in the Gympie region in Autumn

Tommy Daunt

Tom Daunt sports desk for 27th May.

Chinese trade delegation

Chinese trade delegation visits Gympie region and meets with local producers at the...

DV support march

Darcy Cavanaugh speaks about the Refocus domestic violence support walk on May 27...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked