Margaret Howes, Empire Vale
I refer to your article ‘Aircraft crash a wake-up call on housing plan’ (Echonetdaily, July 10).
On Sunday I landed on runway 28 at Casino and could see red and blue flashing lights at the western end of the runway as I taxied up to the aero club. I thought it must be police conducting a drug bust in the RV Village, as I had heard nothing on the aircraft radio about a plane crashing.
Imagine my surprise when I was told that a plane had had an engine failure after take-off and had actually gone over the boundary fence into the RV village.
I was told that when the engine stopped in mid-air, the plane had been observed to carry out a silent glide over the roof of one of the houses in the RV Village and had landed upside down in a ditch with the only injury being slight bruising to the pilot, who found himself hanging upside down in his seat belt.
It just goes to show what poor planning principles the Richmond Valley Council applies to development near aerodromes, and how lucky there were no houses or people impacted on in this accident. If the council hadn’t sold off half of Casino aerodrome, the pilot would have had a greenfield landing.
Imagine what would have happened if the plane had caught on fire, which is what usually happens in these types of accidents, especially if the fuel tanks in the wings rupture.
The NSW Rural Fire Service now has its base at Casino Aerodrome and the big water bombers operate from there during the fire season. They would certainly make a big impact if they had an engine failure.
I have been at Casino and Evans Head aerodromes when the water bombers are fighting fires, and they fly low when fully loaded on takeoff. Both aerodromes have residential dwellings in close proximity and it is madness to keep on allowing this type of development.
There is enormous development pressure to put houses all over aerodromes and to shut them down, but we need aerodromes as part of protecting our urban communities from the threat of fire, and for air ambulance, etc.