CASA grounds Dromader firefighting planes after fatal crash

CASA grounds Dromader firefighting planes after fatal crash

06 November 2013

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Australia — Pilot David Black, 43, was killed when his Dromader plane crashed two weeks ago at Wirritin, in Budawang National Park, near Ulladulla while fighting the New South Wales bushfires.

Reports said one wing fell off before the plane plummeted to the ground.

The Dromaders are used widely for crop dusting and for water bombing during the fire season.

A total of 30 planes, including eight in Victoria, have been grounded.

CASA says the grounding is to allow work to continue on safety issues relating to maintenance inspections and the operation of the aircraft.

“CASA is obtaining maintenance data and information from the Dromader operators. This will be carefully analysed before Dromader flights resume,” the organisation said in a statement.

Victoria leases six Dromader agricultural planes during the fire season.

The chief fire officer for the Department of Primary Industries, Alan Goodwin, says the department is working with CASA to make sure the state has adequate resources.

“We’re working together from two aspects. One is how long the CASA investigation might take and therefore when can our aircraft come back on line given that we are approaching the summer period,” he said.

“(We’re) also looking for alternatives that we may put in place if those aircraft weren’t available.”

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report in April highlighted safety concerns with the planes when they carry loads of more than 4.2 tonnes.

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