Safety review planned after rise in light aircraft accidents in Estonia

Tallinn Airport.
Tallinn Airport. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Due to a rise in light aircraft accidents in Estonia in recent years, the Safety Investigation Center is reviewing the requirements around pilot training and supervision.

Rene Arikas, the head of the Safety Investigation Center, said accidents involving gliders and small planes have "risen significantly" over recent years, although he did not provide any figures.

While the number of flights has risen in recent years, it needs to be assessed if accidents have risen disproportionately.

One incident occurred last year when a small Piper PA46R-350T plane ran out of fuel just and crashed just before reaching the Tallinn Airport runway.

Arikas said he could not remember a similar accident occurring in recent memory.

"Getting to the point of running out of fuel for the plane is relatively difficult. If we follow all the procedures properly, we shouldn't be able to reach it," he said. 

"The current evidence suggests that there was an error on the part of the pilot. At the moment no technical failure has been identified."

The accident is still being investigated and the agency now wants to increase monitoring around training.

Arikas said, looking at last year's statistics, no summary conclusions can be drawn but the trends worry the agency. After the review, it will be possible to make proposals to legislators.

"Is there a mistake in the training, then there is a need to raise the training requirements. But I certainly can't immediately say that it is definitely training or that there are shortcomings with supervision, it will take a little longer," he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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