SEREMBAN: Preliminary findings by the authorities have revealed that severe windshear and down-draft contributed to a light aircraft crashing in Kuala Klawang near here on Saturday (June 29).
They also said the incident called into question the suitability of the private airstrip from which it took off.
The Transport Ministry, in a statement, said the pilot – who was taking off for the second time from the private airstrip – lost control of the aircraft, causing it to crash.
It said the aircraft then caught fire, with both the pilot and the sole passenger escaping with severe burns.
“They were rescued by locals and transported to a nearby hospital for medical attention.
“They were eventually transferred and admitted to the Prince Court Hospital in Kuala Lumpur for further treatment,” it said.
The ministry said the pilot, an American, and his passenger had departed the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang in a Sinus-VG aircraft with registration HA-TAM around 10am on said day and landed at the Kuala Klawang airstrip 28 minutes later.
“The crew reported to the Subang Air Traffic Control as being on the ground at Kuala Klawang for three hours.
“At the Kuala Klawang airstrip, the crew landed and shut down the aircraft,” he said.
The ministry said the American pilot, who held a Malaysian private pilot licence validated from his United States FAA licence, then took another aircraft, a Tecnam P2 with registration 9M-MZC.
The incident happened while they were about to take off on their second flight.
The ministry said further investigations revealed that even the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) had no knowledge of the suitability of the airstrip.
“CAAM has not given any form of certification (to it) as aerodrome and flying activities, which were mainly in a private capacity.
“Further investigations will be carried out to establish the safety of the airspace for low-flying aircraft passing through the area,” it said.
The ministry said the pilot had participated in several aerobatic flights previously during his stay in Malaysia and was a member of the Air Adventure Flying Club.
“Currently, he is also a holder of Malaysian Private Pilot licence number 7872, which expires on April 22 next year.
“His last Licence Proficiency Check was done on April 23 this year on aircraft with the 9M-EEC registration number,” it said.
The ministry said a preliminary probe also showed the crew had made no distress call.
“The aircraft crashed in a remote area with extensive impact,” the ministry said.
It said there was no communication from the Tecnam aircraft to Subang ATC from the time it departed the airstrip.
“The ATC was not informed of the flight at the airstrip after Sinus aircraft landed at 10.28am,” it said.
The CAAM, it said, would evaluate the said private airstrip to check if it was safe for operations and for the safety of aircraft passing through the airspace.