Thursday August 21, 2014

RAAF pilot speaks about PC-9 crash

SQNLDR Bruce Collenette (Dept of Defence)

One of the RAAF pilots involved in last Thursday’s (May 18) Pilatus PC-9/A crash has spoken to local media regarding his experience, after a suspected engine failure during a routine training flight caused both pilots to eject from their aircraft.

QFI SQNLDR Bruce Collenette and instructor trainee FLTLT Steve Andrews were both hospitalised following their escape from PC-9 A23-039, callsign ‘Aladdin 71′, which crashed at RAAF East Sale at approximately 3.15pm on Thursday afternoon. “I’m feeling ok, I’ve felt like I’ve played a good hard game of footy but I’m upright and breathing and that’s the main thing” a spirited SQNLDR Collenette told WIN television after his ordeal.

Admitting he was taken by surprise when the supposed engine failure occurred, SQNLDR Collenette said that he reverted to well-rehearsed training procedures in order to ensure a safe exit from the aircraft for both pilots. “We glided towards the airfield and just had to way up and see whether we were actually going to make it or not,” he said. “When it became obvious that we weren’t, there was no option [but to eject]. When it got to that stage, basically instinct just kicked in and I called ‘EJECT EJECT EJECT’ and the guy in the back seat [FLTLT Andrews] took me out.

“If you’ve followed the procedures that you’re trained to do, you come out in reasonable shape,” SQNLDR Collenette noted.

The recent crash marks the second engine incident and subsequent grounding to afflict the RAAF’s PC-9 fleet this year, after a 2FTS PC-9 suffered an engine fire on take off from RAAF Pearce in February. Investigations are continuing.