News

Officials took appropriate action after pilot crashed

Transport Canada says the organizers of the Nanaimo air show, where a Campbell River man crashed, followed proper procedure.

Dr. Bill Phipps crashed his self-built stunt biplane while performing acrobatic manoeuvres during the Wings and Wheels air show put on by the Nanaimo Flying Club on June 4.

He suffered serious facial and internal injuries in the incident, as well as broken bones after his plane crashed during the first eight minutes of the air show.

The rest of the air show was cancelled and the airport was closed to all incoming and outgoing air traffic immediately after Phipps’ accident.

Some spectators questioned the emergency crew’s response time in getting to the wreckage to pull Phipps to safety.

Transport Canada conducted a review after the crash to ensure all rules were adhered to.

“All the information available to date indicates that the air show was in compliance with the Canadian Aviation Regulations,” said Transport Canada communications officer Sara Hof in an e-mail. “There is no further action required at this time.”

An inspector from Transport Canada was on site at the time of the crash to monitor the air show and ensure rules were being followed, as mandated by the Aeronautics Act.

Spectator safety distances, pilot eligibility requirements, and emergency response being met safely by the air show organizers, were some of the many things the inspector was monitoring that day. Transport Canada conducted its review on July 20, after meeting with air show planners and discussing the safety plans for the air show.

Nanaimo Flying Club president Barbara Riddy said she is pleased with Transport Canada’s decision, but cares more about Phipps’ well-being.

“We’re happy with Transport’s report, but we find greater comfort in the pilot’s survival,” said Riddy.

Phipps was up to date on his health examination at the time of the crash, according to Transport Canada. Phipps is still recovering in Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, but is said to be improving.

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