Monday, April 11, 2016

Pilot was a 'true professional': Brumby R600, Penfield Flight School Pty Ltd., 24-7322

Terry Otway and the Brumby 600. (via Facebook)

A Sunbury flying instructor who died when a light plane crashed and exploded into flames in a paddock near Lancefield on Saturday morning has been remembered as a great teacher and true professional.

Terry Otway, 79, and a Lower Templestowe man, 48, who had recently moved from Sydney were killed while on a training flight after taking off from Penfield Flight School, in Settlement Road East, Sunbury, about 10.30am.

School owner Vince Gulthorpe told Star Weekly Mr Otway, a former Ansett captain who had taught with the school for more than a decade, was an experienced pilot who had a tremendous reputation.

"He was so approachable and was just a great teacher," Mr Gulthorpe said. ‘‘He was easygoing … he liked a joke, but he was also so professional.

“It all flowed easy for him because he was so good at it."

Police inspect the accident scene 

Mr. Otway and his student were killed when their Brumby 600, an Australian-built, single-engine, two-seat, light-sport aircraft crashed in a paddock near the intersection of Kilmore-Lancefield and Shannons roads just before 11.15am on Saturday.

Witnesses told Star Weekly they saw the plane, which appeared to be struggling, flying low near Lancefield moments before the crash.

Mr Gulthorpe said the school had never had any trouble with the plane.

He said the school, which has two junior instructors, might not continue.

"The guys are just devastated," Mr. Gulthorpe said. "Honestly, I don’t even know if we will be able to continue."

Mr. Gulthorpe said a man had visited the school about the time of the crash to personally thank Mr Otway for teaching his son to fly.

Mr. Otway is survived by his wife, Betty, and two children.

Police said it was believed the plane had experienced mechanical trouble.

“We don’t know, but the efforts of the pilot may very well have been to seek out this paddock and save people on the roads or in houses,” Bendigo Acting Senior Sergeant Mick Peckham said.

Air Transport Safety Bureau inspectors remained at the scene on Monday. Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

Anyone with information about the crash is being urged to phone Kyneton police on 5421 2900.

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