The person on the controls of Wonderboom plane that crashed last month was not a member of the flight crew, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has reported.
The preliminary report released on Saturday afternoon, revealed that the man was, in fact, an engineer not rated on the aircraft as a pilot.
According to the aircraft flight manual, two pilots are required to operate the aircraft and both need to be rated on the aircraft.
But the documents and licenses made available to the SACAA indicated that only the captain was rated on the Convair 330/440 aircraft.
The engineer had only been issued with an aircraft maintenance licence.
In the report it states that the captain, seated on the left seat, was the pilot flying (PF) and the first officer (FO), seated on the right seat, was doing the radio work.
“The engineer was operating the engine controls. This is evident when reviewing the GOPRO video recording that was installed in the cockpit of the aircraft, and it was also confirmed by passengers who were interviewed.”
It was not clear why the engineer was allowed to operate the plane, the report said.
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“In previous flights, the engineer sat with the crew and was allowed to control the plane.”
The report noted a passenger had gone to the cockpit to tell the engineer that the left engine was on fire.
The passenger was later identified as the engineer’s assistant.
The report also noted the captain was complaining about rudder stiffness.
The report indicates that the correct procedure which the pilots were required to follow after identifying the engine which was on fire, based on the wreckage examination including the propeller and cockpit GOPRO recording, were not followed by the crew when the left engine caught fire.
On 10 July, the aircraft took off with two Australian pilots and 17 passengers for a scenic flight from Wonderboom airport to Pilanesburg aerodrome in Rustenburg but crashed shortly after take-off.
The 17 passengers comprised of 12 South Africans, one Australian, one Zimbabwean and three Dutch citizens.
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