Investigations show ultralight crash caused by pilot error
AN EXPERIENCED Peregian Springs pilot is showing signs of improvement after bearing the impact of a 200m plunge into the ocean at Noosa Main Beach.
Anthony Callan was behind the controls of a weight shift ultralight, or as it is commonly known, a trike ultralight, when the aircraft came down in front of stunned beachgoers about 7am Sunday.
The 57-year-old father of two suffered head, chest and abdominal injuries.
He remains in Royal Brisbane Hospital in a critical but stable condition.
Mr Callan reportedly took off from the airstrip at Teewah with a friend, who was in another ultralight flying nearby, before he nose-dived into the water.
Witnesses have given conflicting reports of what went wrong a short time later over the beach.
Some said the pilot lost control when he attempted a manoeuvre while others reported what looked like mechanical failure before the aircraft went into a free-fall, spun upside down and crashed nose-first into the water.
Senior Constable Dave Lonergan of the Sunshine Coast Forensic Crash Unit said the initial investigation indicated the crash was caused by pilot error.
"We are very reliant upon witness statements for this and we would encourage anyone who saw anything to come forward," he said.
"The investigations indicate that it appears to be pilot error.
"It appears the pilot took a turn and lost control and tried to correct himself and lost control again."
Federation operations manager Brett Coupland said his team would help compile a report, inspect the aircraft equipment and offer their expertise to help piece together what went wrong.
He said the aircraft was registered with the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia.
"It is not common for something like this to happen with the aircraft, but that's not to say it doesn't ever happen," Mr Coupland said.
"The reports that are compiled will eventually be sent to the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau."
The wreckage sank just beyond the shark nets after the crash when Noosa Coastguard volunteers realised the nine-metre wingspan was too large to move across the Noosa Bar. The aircraft was floated several hours later and towed into shore in a delicate operation to uphold the integrity of the wreck.
Clayton's Towing transported the wreckage to its holding yard for further investigations.