Picture: SA Civil Aviation Authority
Picture: SA Civil Aviation Authority

Crash involving student pilot who mixed up left and right averted

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Sep 25, 2021

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A total of 164 people narrowly escaped death after a student pilot at the controls of a light aircraft turned left when he was instructed to turn right.

According to a report by the Accident and Incident Investigations Division (AIID) from SA Civil Aviation Authority, the incident occurred on Wednesday morning when a Prima 285 aircraft and a Safair 142 aircraft were both approaching East London Aerodrome (FAEL) at about the same time.

“The FAEL aerodrome control instructed Prima 285 (ZS-PTV) to make a right turn to allow Safair 142 (ZS-JRE) to land after air traffic control (ATC) cleared it for landing on Runway 11 at FAEL; however, the pilot of Prima 285 (ZS-PTV) deviated from ATC’s instruction and turned left instead,” said the report. The deviation from instructions led to loss of separation between the aircraft.

On-board the Safair aircraft were two flight crew, four cabin crew and 158 passengers.

The Safair 142 aircraft landed safely and later vacated the runway.

The Prima 285 aircraft conducted one touch-and-go landing, reported safely airborne and, thereafter, routed outbound via Keyser’s Beach.

No injuries were reported and and neither aircraft sustained damage.

According to the logbook, the student pilot did not log any flight hours between October 11, 2019 and July 16, but performed a touch-and-go exercise at FAEL on August 23.

“The AIID investigation is on-going and the investigator/s will be looking into other aspects of this occurrence which may or may not have safety implications,” said a report by the SA Civil Aviation Authority.


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