Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
02 February 2012


For further information contact:

Senior Communications Adviser, Emma Peel
Tel: 04 560 9646, or 027 272 3545


Yak 52 - possible mechanical issue

The CAA safety investigation into a Yak 52 accident that killed two people at Feilding is following a line of enquiry that points toward a mechanical issue.

Investigators found a stubby type screwdriver amongst the wreckage, which may have rendered the aircraft unflyable. While this cannot yet be concluded as the cause of the accident, it is of grave concern.

The finding mirrors an accident involving a Yak 52 aircraft in the United Kingdom in 2003, in which two people were killed. In this accident, a stubby-type screwdriver became lodged in the tail of the aircraft affecting its controls.

The CAA last week contacted all New Zealand Yak-52 owners, advising them of this finding and strongly recommending a thorough visual inspection for any foreign objects before further aerobatic flight.

Foreign object damage (FOD) is a known risk to aerobatic aircraft. Any loose material, even a paper clip, can shift during aerobatics and affect the aircraft’s controls.

A FOD inspection is a normal part of every aerobatic pre-flight inspection, and the CAA recently published an article describing the dangers of FOD in its safety magazine Vector.

The investigation into the Yak 52 accident is continuing and it is hoped that a preliminary report will be published within the coming three weeks.

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