ZK-RTE Forced Landing

In August 2015, three friends were on the annual North Shore Aero Club South Island trip.

They had made it all the way to Christchurch, where the next day their trip failed to go as planned.


More details of the story

These pilots spent a long time considering the weather and its effect on their proposed flight. They spoke with local instructors and others they knew in South Canterbury, and took advice from them.

Both pilots were syndicate owners of this Arrow, so they knew their aeroplane very well, and had flown together a lot, and are friends. This could have worked against them, as it has done in other accidents, but in this case, it meant they worked well as a team.

After the engine failure, they reduced power to retain the potential of the engine and they maintained close to best glide speed.

The two pilots were sharing the flying with Marcus the student getting front seat time too.  On this day, the plan was to have Craig as PIC and Marcus in the right-hand seat, but on the walk out to the aeroplane, they adjusted their plan and put both experienced pilots up the front.

As a related point, it is important to understand that an ATC clearance does not absolve a pilot from making good decisions. Just because ATC clears you to do as you request, they are not giving you their approval of your decision. In the case of a special VFR (SVFR) clearance, they are clearing you because the conditions are such that the flight can be conducted under SVFR.