Pilots quell fears about air travel

President of the Port Pirie Flying Group John Thompson, left, airport manager Steve Joyce and chief flying instructor Earl Longstaff with light planes at the hangar.
President of the Port Pirie Flying Group John Thompson, left, airport manager Steve Joyce and chief flying instructor Earl Longstaff with light planes at the hangar.

A crash-landing by a plane with engine failure may have raised concerns with residents.

But long-time pilots hope to abate fears engine failure is “not uncommon”.

Manager of the Port Pirie Airport Steve Joyce has been at the site for 16 years and says the incident on Sunday is the first he has witnessed. “Aircraft do not have engine failures often,” he said. “I have been flying for 20 years and never experienced an engine failure.”

Chief flying instructor of the Port Pirie Flying Group Earl Longstaff supports Mr Joyce’s comments.

“I have been flying for about 40 years and never had an engine failure,” he said.

“For an aircraft that has been maintained to a high standard, the engine cutting out would be rare.

“The majority of pilots go through their entire career without experiencing this kind of problem.

“Although we are trained in the case of an emergency, flying is actually a very safe form of transport.”

Mr Joyce said the airport had a about 4000 flight movements a year. “This incident is the first in 16 years – the odds are high,” he said.

A Queensland man survived unhurt after his plane crashed into a paddock south of Port Pirie. The pilot glided from 1000 feet after the engine of his Pulsar light sport aircraft cut out.