UPDATE: Pilot of plane that landed on OR Tambo taxiway 'not authorised for commercial operations'

2019-09-13 14:27
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Light Aircraft

While the video above went viral for its peculiarity, the investigation into the light aircraft plane that made an unscheduled landing at South Africa’s busiest airport, OR Tambo International Airport has quickly turned serious.

The incident which took place at OR Tambo, on Thursday, 29 August 2019 has the aviation industry questioning exactly how such a breach of the controlled airspace of the national key point.

 The South African Civil Aviation Authority says it has put together an independent task team to investigate, calling the incident "extremely dangerous". 

The incident relates to the private flight involving a small aircraft called RV-10, which took off from the Free State Province’s New Tempe Airport in Bloemfontein. 

It is a four-seat, single-engine, low-wing, amateur built airplane sold in kit form, according to the SACAA's classification, which regards the model as "experimental, and is mainly used for recreational purposes". 

READ: WATCH: Dad on holiday saves plane from major delays when original pilot goes missing 

According to the preliminary information it was a private flight, carrying three people on board, two passengers and a pilot who holds a Private Pilot’s Licence. Private Pilot’s Licence holders are not authorised to conduct any commercial operations.  

Air Traffic Navigation Services spokesperson Percy Morokane says "many questions need to be answered", as stated by the SACAA. 

"We think it will be fair to respond to any queries relating to the entire incident once requisite investigation has been completed. 

"We strongly believe that by issuing this statement, SACAA's intention was not to conduct its investigation through any other platform, including the media. We hereby request that the SACAA be given the space and time to fully investigate this incident. We have and will still cooperate fully with this ongoing investigation process," says Morokane.

READ: WATCH: How to become a flight attendant in SA 

“While we are grateful that this was a non-fatal incident, which we view as bizarre, worrying, and an extremely dangerous act, we are resolute that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that those responsible are held accountable. All facts, evidence, and sequence of events and or decisions by all involved will be interrogated thoroughly,” Poppy Khoza, head of the SACAA stated previously.

“Even though the aircraft did not sustain any damage, and no injuries to persons on board or on the ground were reported, what is very strange is the fact that the pilot landed the aircraft on a taxiway instead of a runway,” Khoza says.

*Compiled by Selene Brophy

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