Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
24 Jan 2012


For further information contact:

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


CAA investigators on scene at Yak 52 accident site

CAA Safety Investigators have been on scene at the aircraft accident site at Feilding this morning. The Yak 52 aircraft ZK-YTW crashed late yesterday morning killing the pilot and a passenger.

Lead Safety Investigator Al Moselen says he and Steve Walker have this morning made a general assessment of the wider wreckage area, but the main portion of the fuselage remains under the control of the police victim identification team. It is expected that the police will not release this portion of the wreckage to the CAA until tomorrow.

Al Moselen and CAA Safety Investigator Steve Walker expect to be on the scene over the next two to three days. In the meantime, they are conducting witness interviews in coordination with police.

CAA Safety Investigator available today

Lead Safety Investigator Al Moselen will be available to speak to media about the next steps in the safety investigation from 4pm to 4:15pm today. Meet Al at the Timona Park carpark.

Background Aerobatics

It has been suggested that the Yak 52 was carrying out aerobatics prior to the accident, but this has not been confirmed. The following background is about the rules covering aerobatics in general.

Pilots must hold a specialist aerobatic rating to carry out aerobatics below 3000 feet. Pilots cannot carry passengers unless they hold this rating, and passengers cannot be carried on aerobatic flights below 3000 feet.

Achieving an Aerobatic Flight Rating involves a ground course, special flight instruction and competency checks every two years. Once a pilot holds an aerobatic rating, they may fly aerobatics solo as low as 1500 feet if they have been endorsed to do so. To fly lower than 1500 feet, the pilot must hold an additional low level authorisation, which allows the pilot to fly lower provided they are flying in, or practicing for, an aviation event.

Not all aircraft are suitable for aerobatics. The Yak 52 may be used for aerobatics, including carrying a passenger privately, but can only be used to carry fare-paying passengers by the holder of an operator certificate issued under Part 115 Adventure Aviation.

How the civil aviation system works in New Zealand (PDF)