Gyrocopter crash in Australia kills Singaporean student, Aussie pilot: A gyrocopter crashed in the Victorian bushland of Australia on Sunday, killing the pilot and his passenger, an 18-year-old Singaporean student.
Australian news reports have identified the student as Jordan Peng, and the pilot as 51-year-old Reg Thaggard.
Their bodies were located in the rugged terrain of Kinglake National Park on Sunday morning.
Acting Senior Sergeant Colin Anderson of the Victorian Police said the two had been flying over a remote area of the ranges viewing bushfire damage when the gyrocopter went down.
The aircraft reportedly crashed about 6 kilimeters from the Yarra Valley Conference Center near Dixons Creek, where it had taken off late Saturday afternoon. It was supposed to be a 15-minute flight, according to reports.
The wreckage was finally spotted by a police plane in dense bushland after search crews had spent several hours scouring the park for the men.
Though the cause of the crash is not yet known, many in the flying community do not believe it could have been the result of pilot error, as Mr. Thaggard was known to be very experienced, according to reports.
“He’s an extremely good pilot,” said Damien Mould, a friend of the pilot.
“I’m sure he would have down everything in his power to try and get that aircraft down safely.”
“It’s devastating to all concerned – people involved that have to retrieve people from the situation and those directly involved with the people that have been killed,” said Mr. Mould.
He said losing Mr. Thaggard was like losing a family member.
“It’s devastating to me,” Mr. Mould told the Nine Network. “He’s a family man. He’s a wonderful guy.”
The pilot leaves behind a wife and several children.
A gyrocopter is an aircraft which uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller. While it is similar in appearance to a helicopter, its rotor must have air flowing through the rotor disc to generate rotation.