A Perth man faces charges for deliberately flying his radio controlled plane near a jetliner making its final approach to Perth airport.
The reckless stunt was performed to film a spoof video with an onboard camera to a soundtrack taken from the jetwash scene in the rubbish 80s film Top Gun.
21st April 2009
The federal aviation watchdog is now investigating a near miss between a remote controlled airplane and a passenger jet at Perth Airport.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has confirmed to thewest.com.au that they are now investigating the matter.
The pilot of the remote controlled plane could face up to two years in jail over the prank, which was filmed and placed on popular social networking site Facebook.
The remote controlled airplane appears to have been deliberately flown at a Virgin Blue jet as it came in to land at the Perth Airport.
WA Police handed the probe to CASA today. A key aspect of the investigation will be video footage apparently taken by a camera attached to a model aircraft.
It is understood the model plane came within seconds of colliding with the 160-seat 737 aircraft and crashed to the ground after being hit by the jet wash on Friday.
The man believed responsible for the near disaster took the video off YouTube at the weekend but not before it was recorded and saved by fellow model aircraft enthusiasts furious at the reckless stunt.
The video comes with music from the movie Top Gun and, with dialogue, recreates a scene from the film where "Maverick and Goose" acquire a target and try to get in a shot before crashing after encountering jet wash.
Enthusiasts from Australia and New Zealand have tracked down the man they believe responsible for the stunt and have given his details and the video to WA Police. The offender faces jail over the offence.
The video camera fitted to the model plane shows the Virgin Blue jet streaking past only 30m away. The model aircraft turns to follow the jet towards Perth airport but spirals downwards.
The offender then uses another camera to zoom in on the cockpit of the wrecked model plane.
While the model plane is small, at 88cm long with a wingspan of 1m and weighing 850g, it is fitted with a hardsteel case motor that is 4.8cm wide and weighs 60g.
If the model plane had been sucked into the jet's engines, it could have caused severe damage and possibly engine failure. If it had struck the cockpit, it could have cracked the jet's windshield.
A witness told police last Friday that he thought the model aircraft had collided with the 737.
The incident was reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
The incident happened at 8am, about 800m from the runway where the jet was landing after flying from Melbourne.
Virgin Blue was contacted by police over the incident but an inspection of the aircraft did not find any damage.
The airline said that it was "aware of an alleged incident" and "strongly supported authorities using the full extent of the law to deal with individuals who have the stupidity and wilful intent to operate a model aircraft in close proximity to a live operational airport".
Virgin Blue's head of safety is investigating the incident.
Flying a model aircraft within 5.5km of an airport and at any distance on an approach path is a Federal offence.
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