Juraj Glesk from Caloundra lost his life in the crash. /Photo Contributed
Juraj Glesk from Caloundra lost his life in the crash. /Photo Contributed Contributed

Fatal skydiving plane crash in spotlight after tragedy

A CORONER says he hopes friends and families of people killed in a fatal parachuting plane crash get some answers this week.

Caloundra skydiving instructor Juraj Glesk was killed in the 2014 Caboolture crash, as were pilot Andrew Aitken, instructor Glenn Norman and engaged couple Joey King and Rahuia Hohua.

The brakes, modified plane seating and maintenance history of the doomed Cessna were discussed at Brisbane Coroners Court on Monday.

The plan was for the plane to fly to 10,000-14,000 feet, then perform tandem skydives above a designated drop zone.

But the Cessna U206 crashed just moments after take-off on March 22nd that year.

Coroner Terry Ryan heard police and ATSB investigators found the impact was "not survivable".

Taken too soon: Engaged couple Rahuia Hohua and Joseph 'Joey' King.
Taken too soon: Engaged couple Rahuia Hohua and Joseph 'Joey' King. Contributed

Several relatives of those who died attended the inquest. Mr Ryan thanked them for coming, saying he hoped the inquest could provide some answers.

ATSB senior investigator Eric Blankenstein said the Cessna rolled after reaching about 150-200 feet.

Aircraft seating was modified for skydiving, and the pilot seat and rail was examined.

Mr Blankenstein said a possible "seat slide event" affecting the pilot's ability to maintain control was explored.

The inquest will examine if a secondary seat stop modification should've been fitted to the aircraft.

Mr Blankenstein said Mr Aitken was a very experienced pilot familiar with the local area.

He said some witnesses believed the Cessna engine briefly lost power, but none said the engine was "coughing or sputtering or anything like that."

Engine assembly remnants were disassembled and inspected.

Mr Blankenstein said no mechanical defects were found but it wasn't confirmed if power reduction had occurred.

About 90 per cent of the Cessna was destroyed.

Ian Harvey, counsel assisting the coroner, said the aircraft owner had described the Cessna as having "never missed a beat" despite having a tail bend previously repaired after a previous pilot's "fast descent".

Mr Harvey said the owner also described the plane having an earlier "brake caliper issue" but a crew at Caloundra Airport had attended to that.

Sergeant Gregory Price of Burpengary forensic crash unit said he was at the scene within 30 minutes of the crash.

Most aircraft wreckage was destroyed in a post-impact fire, he told the inquest.

Observers believed the plane " banked suddenly to the left", crashing on its left wing tip.

Mr Price said most witnesses thought the aircraft was "under full power" and it seemed like a normal take-off.

Mr Ryan is expected to travel to Redcliffe on Monday afternoon for a Cessna viewing.

Seven groups of passengers were booked to fly on the day of the crash.

A passenger who jumped on a successful earlier flight is among witnesses expected to give evidence on Tuesday.

The inquest continues.  -NewsRegional

News Corp Australia


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