Man flips plane, crashes but calls it a 'non-event'

EXPERIENCED: Gatton pilot Martin Hone, now in his 27th year in the air, tipped his light-aircraft while landing on Tuesday morning while out flying with friends.
EXPERIENCED: Gatton pilot Martin Hone, now in his 27th year in the air, tipped his light-aircraft while landing on Tuesday morning while out flying with friends. Lachlan Mcivor

A GATTON pilot who tipped his light-aircraft while landing on Tuesday morning said the incident was a "non-event."

Martin Hone had been out flying on Anzac Day with some friends but as he came down to land at the Gatton Airpark around mid-morning, something felt amiss.   

"We did a couple of bad landings and on the fourth or fifth landing, we felt something not quite right at the front," Mr Hone said.  

"We proceeded to land but what happened was the nose gear, which is the front leg, bent, so when we landed it folded up and when it folds up, it tips forward and once it gets to a certain point it will just tip over.   

"Honestly, it was probably walking pace but once it starts to go, momentum just carries over and that sort of did the damage."   

The 67-year-old said the plane he was flying, a VANS RV-9, can be a bit fragile as they are built to be as light as possible.  

"They just don't like abuse of any sort because they've already got two bends in them and if you give them a hard time, it can bend more," he said.  

"That's what happened, the front wheel bent under and then when it hit the ground, it slid along for a bit.  

"Then it must have caught on a bit of rock or anything and just pulled it back further, then it dropped down and it went over."  

Mr Hone and his passenger were both taken to hospital with the latter receiving stitches for a wound on his head after hitting it on the plane's canopy during the impact.   

But his passenger would have avoided injury if his seat belt was tightened appropriately, according to the pilot.  

"I had my seatbelts tightened, this is the problem, my mate didn't," he said.  

"He knows himself he should of done it but he didn't... this is the consequence."  

Mr Hone said the event was no different to a minor prang between two cars on a local road but as it involved an aircraft, he understood why it had gotten so much attention from medical officers, police and media.  

"I was perfectly fine, I've been racing motorcycles for 35 years, this was a non-event," he said.  

"I don't want to make it sound any more then it was... it was a landing accident.  

"It's unfortunate that someone did get injured, but it was a minor injury, it doesn't happen very often."   

This was the first accident the Gatton local has had in his near three decades in the air.  

"I've had things like engine failures and flat tyres and things like that, you're trained to deal with all that," he said.

"This one when you're using the under carriage to land, there's no avoiding it.  

"I wracked my brain trying to think 'ok if I knew exactly what the problem was when it happened, what would I have done differently' and you can't, there's nothing you can do differently."  

Topics:  editors picks gatton plane crash

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