CHINA / Regional

Plane on illegal flight crashes, killing two
By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-09 06:04

A light aircraft flying illegally in East China's Jiangsu Province crashed yesterday, authorities have revealed. Two of the three people on board were killed, and the other was critically injured.

The plane was on a commercial promotion flight, but at 11:20 am, just 10 minutes after take-off, it came down near the city of Suqian.

"It was an unlicensed pilot and flight," Hu Dalin, spokesman for the Aero Sports Federation of China (ASFC), told China Daily yesterday, saying both the club and the pilot's names cannot be found in the watchdog's registration record.

On the aircraft were Ye Yong, manager of Yonghua Club from where the plane took off, Wang Yan, an employee of a wedding photo shop, and a pilot surnamed Tian.

Wang is now in intensive care in Suqian People's Hospital.

Preliminary research suggests the aircraft was owned by a flying enthusiast in Nanle County in Central China's Henan Province, who on April 25 rented it to Ye.

Tian was reportedly a civil aviation pilot, but Hu cast doubt on his qualifications.

"Civil aviation pilot is a hot profession now in China Pilots are badly needed, therefore it's almost impossible for them to give up their positions and work at a small club," he said.

In China there are three basic steps needed before any aircraft leaves the ground: Pilot qualification tested by ASFC, aircraft qualification issued by the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China and flight approval by air traffic control authorities.

"Obviously, the flight obeyed none of the rules," he added.

At the very least the local sports bureau should have been notified of the flight, he said.

Jiangsu Sports Bureau and Suqian Sports Bureau told China Daily that they received no reports about the flight.

Controlled and supervised by military authorities, the use of airspace involves a complicated application procedure.

"Unremitting efforts lobbying for the opening of airspace have been made for years, but there is still a long way to go," Hu said.

(China Daily 05/09/2006 page2)