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Misdemeanor for crash pilot

Jul 30, 2008
In cooperation with BNS

TALLINN - The amateur flier who piloted the small aircraft that crashed in South Estonia last week is highly likely facing a misdemeanor proceeding as he did not have  a pilot's license and the plane was not entered in the aircraft register.

As with ordinary planes, a superlight aircraft has to be entered in the register for operation, but the crashed plane was not, the head of the Civil Aviation Administration's legal department, Gerli Rebane, said. An aircraft also has to be certified airworthy by the administration.

"As the aviation administration has not yet started a misdemeanor proceeding, it's not possible to say at this point which requirements the crashed aircraft met or did not meet, but that will be established in the course of the misdemeanor proceeding," Rebane told BNS.

A a person also needs a pilot's license in order to fly a superlight aircraft which the man did not possess.

The aviation authority will be able to launch the misdemeanor proceeding after the police have completed the criminal probe into the crash. Prosecutor Milvi Vain from the regional prosecutor's office said the case will be closed soon because the person who caused the accident was the only one injured in it.

A two-seater Beaver RX 550 propeller aircraft crashed at the old military airfield in the southern Valga County on Friday evening.

Rescuers said the aircraft flying at an altitude of 50 meters suddenly started losing height and then crashed into the ground. Before the rescuers' arrival, people in the area had helped the pilot out of the plane and an ambulance took him to hospital. The plane burst into flames after the pilot had got out and was completely destroyed. The pilot was alone in the aircraft.

The pilot was only on his second flight in a superlight aircraft.

The man's life is not in danger, medics said. "His injuries are grave but he's going to recover. Considering the seriousness of the accident, you could say the pilot was born under a lucky star," board member of the Tartu University clinic Margus Ulst said.

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