Pacific Rim Aviation academy has suffered a great loss this week. My heart goes out to everyone that he was able to positively influence; his family, friends, students, and fellow instructors at Pacific Rim.
As a private pilot myself ( Colin Thornton), I choose to only fly aircraft from Pacific Rim as they have the most well maintained, highest quality and well kept aircraft in the industry. Pacific Rim Aviation has incredibly talented staff that are willing to bend over backwards for their students.
The Province Article:
By Elaine O'Connor, The Province
A 71-year-old flight instructor with the Pacific Rim Aviation Academy was the victim in Monday’s float-plane crash in Pitt Lake, while his 55-year-old student suffered minor injuries.
The experienced Surrey pilot died after the Cessna 172 hit the water and flipped in the southern end of the lake just after 4 p.m.
Ridge Meadows RCMP’s Cpl. Alanna Dunlop said the man’s name is being withheld.
“They were doing touch-and-go manoeuvres,” Bill Yearwood, the Transportation Safety Board’s regional manager for aviation accident investigations, said Tuesday.
After practising five or six of these operations, in which the float plane touches down then takes off again without stopping, the plane crashed, possibly due to gusting winds.
“We know that the wind conditions were challenging at the time,” Yearwood said. “We will try to determine if that was a contributing factor in causing this accident. We don’t want to speculate, but we do know that gusty wind conditions can affect these aircraft, and all aircraft.”
Yearwood said other pilots in the area did not report that visibility or flying conditions were affected by adverse rain or cloud conditions.
Only the student was able to escape the plane’s cockpit. He was rescued by a passing boat and was taken to hospital by air ambulance at 5:30 p.m.
The survivor’s injuries were minor and he was released from hospital Monday evening, Yearwood said. The man has since been interviewed.
Capt. Erik Niemi, an air controller with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said Monday that rescue crews arrived on scene in a Cormorant helicopter which had been on a training mission in Squamish. Search and rescue technicians recovered the instructor’s body just after 6 p.m.
A Coast Guard hovercraft from Richmond’s Sea Island transferred the body and SAR crew to shore.
Yearwood said the wreckage had yet to be salvaged.
“Nothing suggests that there were problems mechanically with the aircraft,” he said, “but we have not inspected the aircraft yet.”
The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating the cause of instructor’s death. The TSB will assist in that investigation.
The two men were on a training flight from the flight school based at Pitt Meadows Airport. The academy was founded in 2003 by owner Chris Georgas, a former air cadet and high school teacher. The school has six small aircraft and float planes in its fleet, including four Cessna 172s.
Georgas asked for time Tuesday to prepare a comment for the media, as the flight school was caught in a “bereaving moment.”
The small aircraft fatality is one of several this year.
In May, three people died in a float plane crash outside Kelowna. A June helicopter training flight near Terrace ended in tragedy with three deaths, and another float plane pilot was killed in a crash near Williams Lake. In July, two men perished in a small aircraft crash near Vernon.