Emergency landing was a piece of cake - Durban pilot

2015-08-09 19:25
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - A Durban test pilot has described his emergency landing following an engine failure as a "piece of cake".

"This could have happened to anybody else. If it was any other aircraft, I would have been on a stretcher and on my way to the hospital. It was a piece of cake," said Ian Waghorn, a class two test pilot for Flight Frontiers South Africa.

Waghorn, 22, spoke to News24 on Sunday shortly after escaping unharmed following an emergency landing on the beach near Durban’s Suncoast Casino in North Beach.

"I was flying a Savage aircraft, which is designed for competing. The aircraft has Super 200 tyres and it is designed for short take-offs, landings and it’s able stop at very short distances."

Waghorn explained that he took the brand new aircraft for its maiden test on Sunday and it was perfectly fine.

He decided to fly the plane to Virginia Airport in North Beach for more maintenance on Sunday afternoon.

"I was flying to Virginia Airport and the flight was going perfectly fine, and once we reached the harbour it was about 10 more kilometres to go, the oil pressure started to drop very quickly and being a pilot you are trained to know that that means engine failure.

"I declared my mayday call and seconds later my engine seized. My basic skills kicked in, every pilot is trained... for these types of situations, and I looked for a place to land,” he said.

Waghorn said he was grateful for the gloomy and windy weather, because it meant that the beach was empty.

"I selected a nice landing area and I couldn’t have asked for a better aircraft for this to happen to... the tyres coped really well."

When asked if he counted his lucky stars for escaping unharmed he said, "No, it was because of my training. This is drilled into every pilot. There is no time to panic, your instincts kick in and you do what you have learnt over the years.

"This is all part of the job, it’s not as serious as everyone is making out to be."

His overjoyed mother, Leanne Cutting, said she was proud of her son.

"I am glad that he landed the plane so well and safely. His father is a pilot and he has been flying since the age of seven. He is a really competent pilot.

"This particular plane is called a taildragger, and it’s known to be a very difficult plane to land, this was a very good landing,” said Cutting.

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