The operators of the Whanganui farm where Peter Robb was killed have admitted responsibility for the accident.

Mr Robb died on October 18, 2014, when his helicopter hit an electrical wire while carrying out agricultural spraying above Koatanui Farm.

An experienced pilot, Mr Robb, 56, was the only person on board.

Nine charges were laid by the Civil Aviation Authority against the trust which owned the farm, and against four of the farm's operators.


But they were dropped on Monday by the CAA after a confidential out-of-court settlement.

A statement released by the Tariki Family Trust yesterday said the trustees accepted the crash was caused by its failure to bring down the electric feed-out wire which was struck by Mr Robb's helicopter.

"They accept that had that wire been brought down and/or re-routed through another means [such as along the fence line], Mr Robb's aircraft would not have struck the wire," the statement said.

"Having this unsafe wire on their farm resulted in Mr Robb's death."

The trustees encouraged farmers to learn from the tragedy and to bring down unsafe wires.

"The trustees unequivocally lend their support to any campaigns to heighten farmer awareness.

"They encourage farmers never to contemplate that such tragedies could not happen to them.

"They can. These tragedies must be avoided," the statement said.

The director of Civil Aviation, Graeme Harris, acknowledged the matter had been resolved following a "constructive approach" by the trustees and Mr Robb's family.

"The accident was a sad reminder to all those involved in agricultural aviation operations," Mr Harris said.

"Safety is the responsibility of farmers as well as pilots," he said.

Since 2000 there have been 28 accidents caused by wire-strikes - eight of them have been fatal.

Mr Harris said the CAA was collaborating with the agricultural and aviation industries to raise awareness of the risks associated with agricultural helicopter operations.

What the CAA says:
For pilots: The CAA suggests insisting clients provide a detailed map showing wires, high fences, and other hazards, and get as much detail as possible; and that hazards in the surrounding areas must also be identified.

Pilots should do a full reconnaissance of the area from both the air and the ground, taking note of any structures that use power and to watch for any poles as they may have wires connected that cannot be seen.

Streams, gullies, and rivers all potentially have wires strung across them.

For those contracting pilots: If you contract a pilot or aviation company you are deemed to be the "principal" under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, which has obligations. ¦Wherever possible principals must eliminate hazards to ensure the farm is safe for aerial operations.

That means removing all aerial wires. Where that can't be done, mitigation needs to take place such as marking the wires and putting them on a hazard map that can be given to the pilot.

On the day of the safety briefing, they should discuss any wires or other hazards with contractors and have a written contract detailing the information about any wire hazards.