Invasion of Rod Vaughan's Waihī plane is not caused by drone: Civil Aviation Authority



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A plane crash in which broadcaster Rod Vaughan and his son were injured probably would not have been caused by a drone that hit the aircraft, an investigation concluded.

Former TV journalist Vaughan, who lives in Katikati, was flying over Waihī in March last year when his plane's windshield blew up, forcing him to make an emergency landing.

"Suddenly, the windshield of the plane exploded," Vaughan told NZME last year.

"One second was there, the next second it completely disappeared. It was like being in a wind tunnel. There was just a huge amount of air pounding in the cockpit."

Vaughan believed at the time that a drone was responsible for the sudden loss of the windshield.

The head of veteran TV reporter Rod Vaughan was cut off at the forced landing. Photo / file
The head of veteran TV reporter Rod Vaughan was cut off at the forced landing. Photo / file

The Civil Aviation Authority, in a report released this week, said investigators found no traces of a drone after the crash.

The report said the pilot was seeing the Waihī mine when the windshield failed "catastrophically".

"The sudden airflow caused the opening of both cabin doors and aerodynamic control
was compromised, "he said.

"While a successful approach was made to the paddock of the chosen farm, after the touch down the aircraft jumped and was reversed, injuring the occupants." The pilot chose to make a forced landing in the open south to the city.

Examination of the aircraft and searches in the mine area did not find
evidence of a drone, the report said.

However, during examination of the aircraft, a discolouration of the
the plastic polymer windscreen was found. The windshield was yellowing the original light material.

The laboratory examination of the windscreen has detected UV degradation in the upper sections of the exterior of the windscreen.

This type of degradation may result in sudden failures, the report said, but the extent to which this could affect the mechanical properties of the windshield had not been established.

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