Sat, Sep 23, 2006
Exhibition Aircraft Pilot Is Killed
A privately-owned Vodochody L-29 Delfin jet trainer (file photo
below) went down in Table Bay near Milnerton South Africa on
Friday. Authorities haven't released the name of the pilot who was
killed in the crash. Police believe he was the sole occupant.
The aircraft was participating in the African Aerospace and
Defence (AAD) exhibition in Cape Town. Authorities told the
Independent Online that the pilot was conducting a "validation
flight" in connection with the exhibition.
The L-29 is the first Czechoslovakian designed and built jet
aircraft. Designed in the late fifties, the Delfin (Czech for
Dolphin) weighs approximately 7500 lbs and has a reported top speed
of nearly 350 knots.
Eyewitnesses reported two groups of four planes practicing
formation. One flew too low and hit the water raising "a huge spout
Witnesses also said a helicopter had tried to rescue the pilot
shortly after the accident, but that attempt failed because rescue
divers were unable to untangle a deployed parachute. It's not known
if the pilot was alive at that time.
Cape Town harbor police arrived on the scene an hour later and
pulled the pilot's body from the bay into a boat.
The exhibition flying was to be part of an air show opening
today at Ysterplaat Air Force Base near Table Bay. In what's being
billed as the major attraction of the Africa Aerospace and Defense
2006 trade exhibition, the airshow usually attracts thousands.
The L-29 is described by Globalsecurity.org as a robust aircraft
able to operate from unimproved runways. Around 3600 copies were
made with the majority going to the Soviet Union for use as jet
According to Warbirdalley.com, the L-29 has become popular on
the jet warbird market, mostly in the US, but also in England,
Italy and South Africa.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority is already on the
scene and has begun its investigation.
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