Light plane crashes near Ardmore Airfield

By Sophie Ryan

A pilot "did everything right" to land a light aircraft in a paddock after the engine failed during take-off today at Auckland's Ardmore Airport.

She landed the plane in a paddock around 3.5km east of the aerodrome.

The plane travelled around 200 metres across the paddock, through a wire fence and into a drain, where it flipped and landed on its roof.

The pilot and her female student were both injured in the crash, and were taken to Middlemore Hospital by ambulance.

Phil Welcome, the chief flying instructor at Airline Flying Club, said the instructor flying the lesson "did everything right" to land the plane in the paddock as she did.

"She's done remarkably well ... ditch or not, that's the right place to put it."

Mr Welcome said the pilot is aged in her mid-20s and had only recently been employed by Airline Flying Club.

He said it would have been "pretty stressful" for the pilot.

"She's saved themselves rather than saving the plane," he said.

"It looks like she's done an excellent job of doing it, and the only problem is at the end of her landing run she's encountered a drainage ditch."

He said from the tracks in the paddock it looked like the pilot had landed the plane smoothly and straight between two fence posts.

"It's just unlucky she's found a ditch at the end."

Senior Sergeant Ian Brenchley was at the scene carrying out an investigation in to the crash.

He said the women were able to free themselves from the cockpit.

"They're both injured but it's not life-threatening injuries," he said.

"At the moment police are on the scene carrying out an investigation on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority.

"The aircraft would appear to be quite seriously damaged."

Mr Welcome said a team of engineers would go to the scene tomorrow to right the plane and take it apart, so engineers could find the cause of the engine failure.

"In these airplanes engine failure is actually very, very rare," he said.

"If she wasn't such a good pilot it could have been a lot worse."

- APNZ

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