Springbank Airport crash under investigation
The medical condition of a student pilot critically injured in a plane crash at Springbank Airport is improving.
The 24-year-old was airlifted to hospital by STARS Saturday around 5 p.m. when the crash happened.
On Sunday, the Transportation Safety Board was on scene gathering information trying to determine what lead up to the mishap.
The 24-year-old man was trapped beneath the wreckage, unconscious and not breathing, until rescue workers got him out.
"The aircraft impacted the ground fairly hard and broke up and rolled over onto its back," said Transportation Safety Board Senior Investigator Wray Tsuji.
The Transportation Safety Board was on scene Sunday trying to determine what went wrong.
"We have to look at a number of factors, primarily the man, machine, and the environment," added Tsuji.
The student pilot was a member of the Calgary Flying Club, a close-knit flying community.
The Calgary Flying Club is a busy flight school putting through about 250 students a year.
This is the second incident in four years involving the Calgary Flying Club.
Students like Collin Bennett won't let this stop him from getting his pilot's license.
"I want to keep learning how to fly, and no, it doesn't concern me, it's safe," said Bennett.
The club was closed Sunday due to the crash.
"It's a tough day for instructors and staff and certainly the family and other students," said Calgary Flying Club General Manager Scott Wilcox. "Of course, all of our concern and attention was certainly towards him [the pilot] and his family, and I'm very delighted to indicate at this moment, although he's still in critical condition, his condition is improving."
Wilcox says the student pilot was well on his way to completing the private pilot license program.
The crash happened when he was practicing landing and taking off.
"In this particular instance, the student was on a stop and go, so he had literally stopped the aircraft and then he started his take off roll, and then about mid-field lost control of the aircraft," said Springbank Airport General Manager Larry Stock.
The crash involved a Diamond DA-20 Eclipse aircraft. The U.S. Air Force uses it to train pilots.
Wilcox thinks it may have saved the student's life.
"They are designed to withstand high-impact events, and although this was a high-impact event, the student is still with us, and that's what these planes are designed to do," commented Wilcox.
The Transportation Safety Board investigation could take up to a year to complete. Officials hope to interview the pilot as soon as his condition improves enough to do so.