By Fifi Rhodes
WINDHOEK – A trainee pilot and his instructor had a lucky escape yesterday when the trainee crash-landed an aircraft on the B1 road between Windhoek and Okahandja.
The incident took place 42 kilometers north of Okapuka before the lunch-hour rush.
Both the young pilot and his instructor whose names were withheld until investigations were finalised escaped unhurt. The plane was not damaged.
The drama unfolded after the engine of the Jabiru J160 aircraft cut out during mid-flight.
The young trainee showed nerves of steel as he safely landed the plane on the tar road, with many motorists watching the spectacle unfold in front of them.
The plane that belongs to West Air Training and Flight Academy in Windhoek is used for training aspirant pilots.
According to the technical director at West Air, Peter Keil, the aircraft was flying in the general flying zone utilised for training when the engine experienced mechanical difficulties.
“The pilot managed to bring it down to the nearest airstrip at Teufelssflucht close by but was too high to make the landing and then chose the tar road as the second option,” he said.
The aircraft has the Namibian registration V5-WAT. Besides the trainee pilot and instructor, there was no one else on board .
When New Era arrived on the scene the aircraft was towed off the road and did not pose any hazard to motorists or cause disruption to traffic.
The Jabiru aircraft is a tried and tested concept in Australian aviation. As at January 31 2012, Jabiru factory-built aircraft made up 38 percent of the RAA’s 24-registered aircraft competing with over 100 aircraft manufactures available to the Australian market. Jabiru aircraft are used for recreational flying, flight training, rural property management, commuting, surveillance and surveying.
Keil said the light aircraft experienced engine problems. “Lucky for them they were close to an airstrip but were on a higher altitude and could not make it but managed to put it down safely on the ground.”
West Air Training Academy provides basic ab-initio training as well as advance flight training. The ab-initio training is provided on a Jabiru J160 aircraft.