Expatica news

Quelfes – fatal ultralight accident – pilot and aircraft were unlicensed

INEM125The British trainee pilot who died in October 2017 after his ultralite aircraft crashed near Quelfes, Olhão, was not authorised to fly in Portugal, nor was the aircraft that took off from an unlicensed runway.

The stark conclusions are contained in accident report now published by Portugal’s air accident inspectorate, GPIAAF.

“The flight was not properly authorised, the pilot was not duly authorised, there was no flight licence nor the necessary documents on board to be able to fly in Portugal, the pilot did not have adequate training, his experience was very limited in this type of aircraft and the airstrip was not authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority,” reads the document.

Both the 70-year-old pilot and the owner of the ultralite, “were operating illegally in a country outside their aircraft registration area.” The pilot’s limited qualifications only allowed him to fly ultralite aircraft in the United Kingdom.

The report indicates that the runway used by the ultralite was not authorised by the National Civil Aviation Authority, “and did not comply with safety rules.”

“Located in Aldeia de Marim, near Olhão, the field was not authorised by the Authority but is used by the Pegasus Flying Club for tourist flights,” the report states, adding that there was no record that the aircraft had been serviced since it was purchased in May, 2014.

The GPIAFF report concludes that the most likely cause for the accident was the loss of control of the aircraft by the pilot.

“This accident may have resulted from a loss of control in flight by the pilot. The pilot was not trained and his experience was very limited in the type of aircraft in question. His flight experience also was very limited in other types of aircraft,” according to the report.

The two-seater Kolb Mark III fixed-wing ultralight, produced in the US, was destroyed when the machine hit the ground on a plot of land behind a restaurant where a small air club operates.

Following this accident, the inspectorate recommended that the Civil Aviation Authorites in Portugal and the UK review, “their procedures for monitoring and supervising aircraft and pilots that are operating permanently outside of their registration and qualification status.”