Pi­lot’s skill saves the day in bay landing

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

IT’S a sit­u­a­tion few of us could even con­tem­plate, but for Tiger Moth Ad­ven­tures pi­lot Nick Rori­son, the un­think­able be­came a re­al­ity on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Mr Rori­son was tak­ing Steve Bell for a joy flight above the Whit­sun­days when an uniden­ti­fied prob­lem struck the re­gion’s beloved bi­plane.

His brain click­ing back to the pi­lot’s train­ing he’d re­ceived in the past, Mr Rori­son was forced to make an emer­gency landing off Fun­nel Bay.

Re­mark­ably, both he and his pas­sen­ger walked away with­out a scratch.

As news of the in­ci­dent rapidly spread, the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity ral­lied to his side, hail­ing him a hero for what he’d done.

Com­pletely un­aware of the praise he had re­ceived, Mr Rori­son said hear­ing of the re­sponse was “fantastic”.

“We love the Air­lie com­mu­nity and it’s com­fort­ing to know they’re there,” he said.

NICK Rori­son has been hailed a hero by the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity af­ter mak­ing an emer­gency landing in a Tiger Moth plane on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Around 2.30pm, the plane’s pro­pel­ler started mak­ing a strange noise and Mr Rori­son was forced to land at Fun­nel Bay.

Mr Rori­son had Steve Bell on board at the time.

Com­pletely un­aware of the praise he had re­ceived from the pub­lic since news of the in­ci­dent spread across the com­mu­nity, Mr Rori­son said hear­ing of the re­sponse was “fantastic”.

“We love the Air­lie com­mu­nity and it’s com­fort­ing to know they’re there,” he said.

“We’ll en­deav­our to con­tinue our great per­for­mance out there (in the Whit­sun­day skies).”

A com­mer­cial pi­lot since 2005, Mr Rori­son said he just did what his train­ing had taught him.

“Our first pri­or­ity in that sort of sit­u­a­tion is get­ting both of us on the ground safely,” he said.

“As part of pi­lot train­ing we go through ex­ten­sive train­ing so we are pre­pared for these kinds of sit­u­a­tions and then we fall back on that.”

Chief Pi­lot at Tiger Moth Ad­ven­tures, Peter Hearn­shaw said Mr Rori­son was a highly re­spected pi­lot at the Whit­sun­day air­port in Flame­tree.

“His train­ing kicked in and we’re very proud of what he’s done and he’s done an ex­cel­lent job,” he said.

“There are peo­ple who have got more (flying) hours than Nick and aren’t as con­fi­dent in what to do but Nick was cool, calm and col­lected and knew what his pri­or­ity was and that was his pas­sen­ger and him­self.”

Footage cap­tured on a cam­era fit­ted on board the air­craft caught a pos­si­ble cause of the pro­pel­ler’s fail­ure.

Mr Hearn­shaw said af­ter re­view­ing the video of the flight with Mr Rori­son it ap­peared the plane could have en­coun­tered a bird strike.

“The rea­son we be­lieve this is be­cause on the video, it ap­pears the cam­era was knocked by some­thing flying back,” he said.

“All of this in­for­ma­tion will be sent back to the ATSB (Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau) and they will de­ter­mine a pos­si­ble cause.

“We’re not mak­ing as­sump­tions and we can’t say what the prob­lem was, but there was fail­ure of the pro­pel­ler and there was ev­i­dence that some­thing came back­wards, hit the cam­era and pushed the cam­era up­wards.”

Mr Rori­son said de­spite Satur­day’s sit­u­a­tion be­ing a rar­ity, it was im­por­tant to re­mem­ber prob­lems could oc­cur.

“We have to make sure we don’t en­dan­ger our­selves or our pas­sen­gers,” he said.

“It was a very un­for­tu­nate thing to have hap­pen but we are thank­ful we were able to walk away with­out a scratch.”

Photo con­trib­uted.

HEROIC: Pi­lot Nick Rori­son, the man who made a suc­cess­ful emer­gency landing on Satur­day af­ter­noon, flying a Tiger Moth Ad­ven­tures plane.

HERO: Nick Rori­son with a Tiger Moth Ad­ven­tures plane.

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