A man killed when a single-engine stunt plane crashed in a field during rough weather breached aviation rules by undertaking a training flight without the required qualification, a coroner has found.
Pilot Stephen John Chubb, 51, and Neville Ronald Adlam, 70, died from mulitple injuries sustained when the gyrocopter Mr Adlam was flying ploughed into a paddock about 8km north of Stratford, Taranaki, on November 12, 2009.
Several take-offs and landings were completed by Mr Chubb before Mr Adlam took the controls.
According to Coroner Carla na Nagara's report released today, the crash was caused by a bunt over or power push over of the gyrocopter when the rotor of the aircraft effectively stopped flying due to airflow going over the top of the rotor blades, rather than through them.
This occurred when the rotors became unloaded when Mr Adlam was climbing and turning to the left. Unlike a helicopter, a gyrocopter rotor system is not powered by an engine.
"This handling error could have occurred due to Mr Adlam's experience, or possibly a medical event affecting his ability to handle the aircraft.
"As Mr Chubb was not a qualified instructor it is probable he lacked the skills and/or experience to intervene to recover control of the aircraft," the report said.
Ms na Nagara found Mr Chubb, while an experienced gyrocopter pilot, was not a qualified pilot instructor, and the pair were breaching Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules in undertaking the training flight with Mr Adlam as the student pilot and Mr Chubb assuming the role as instructor.
The CAA sent executives a copy of an accident report so they could further educate their members, and the coroner says they have taken appropriate steps to address safety issues.