Sunday, January 3, 2016

The future of Tiger Moth Joy Rides looks uncertain after fatal crash: deHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth, A17-272

The future of Tiger Moth Joy Rides on the Gold Coast is up in the air as the owner of the Pimpama company suspends services until further notice.

The fatal crash last Monday, which killed Coutts Crossing train driver Gary Turnbull, 58, and injured world record breaking pilot Ryan Campbell, 21, destroyed the only warbird owned by Paul Bennet, of Paul Bennet Airshows.

Mr. Bennet refunded bookings scheduled for the summer holidays and said the most professional thing to do at the moment was nothing, out of respect for the deceased.

“I have no answers,” he said.

“We’ve refunded all the bookings, there was no issue with doing that at all.

“It’s just still a bit raw. I need to have a think about everything.

“A lot of what we end up doing will depend on what the findings are.

“It’s just too early to tell, an accident has happened and we need to put business decisions on hold to make a proper decision.

“Out of respect for the passenger the best thing we can do right now is nothing.”

Gary Turnbull was killed when a deHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth plane crashed at Pimpama.

There were reports pilot Mr. Campbell, who is still recovering in Princess Alexandra Hospital, said the crash was a result of an engine failure but that is yet to be confirmed.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau are investigating the incident and will pass their findings onto the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, who then decide whether the pilot is fit enough to keep his license.

Mr. Campbell had wanted to be a pilot since he was six-years-old and has a family background in aviation.

“It’s too early to make judgments on that (licensing),” a CASA spokesman said.

“Once information is gathered we will assess what went wrong and if there are safety implications that need to be addressed, we will address them accordingly.”

Pilot Ryan Campbell (left) in the Tiger Moth. He is recovering in hospital.

Tiger Moth Joy Rides only relaunched in May after the business was taken over by Mr Bennet following a fatal crash in December 2013 that claimed the life of young Frenchwoman Taissia Umenc and pilot Alex “Jimmy” Rae.

An investigation into that has not been finalized, although an initial report found the left wing had failed soon after commencing an acrobatic maneuver off South Stradbroke Island.

Former owner Geoff Stillman, who decided to sell the business after not quite bouncing back from the fatal crash two years ago, was not available for comment.

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