Midlands pilot had flown aircraft once before fatal Longford crash

William Hillick died when his single seater aircraft came down at Abbeyshrule in March

William Hillick from Co Westmeath. A witness on the ground reported seeing Mr Hillick’s aircraft descend rapidly towards the ground impacting in a nose-down attitude. File photograph: William Hillick\Facebook

William Hillick from Co Westmeath. A witness on the ground reported seeing Mr Hillick’s aircraft descend rapidly towards the ground impacting in a nose-down attitude. File photograph: William Hillick\Facebook

 

A preliminary report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit into a fatal plane crash in Co Longford in March has found that it was the pilot’s second time to fly the single seater aircraft.

William Hillick, of Knockmant, The Downs, Mullingar, died when his aerobatic aircraft came down at Abbeyshrule Aerodrome on March 20th.

On the day in question, Mr Hillick had just returned from the Aran Islands by air with a number of friends, before deciding to take his recently purchased aircraft, a Laser Z200, for a local flight.

The report says the pilot performed a total of five left-hand circuits, which included three 360 degree revolutions and two aerobatic and inverted manoeuvres above the aerodrome.

On the sixth circuit, the plane passed the aerodrome in an easterly direction and conducted further rolling manoeuvres.

A witness on the ground then reported seeing it descend rapidly towards the ground impacting in a nose-down attitude.

The report found that the aircraft in question was first registered in the UK in 1995 and transferred to the Netherlands in June 2011.

There, it received a special certificate of airworthiness, which was re-issued annually thereafter and was valid until June 22nd, 2016.

Mr Hillick purchased the aircraft on February 1st, 2016 and it arrived in Ireland almost six weeks later on March 13th.

He conducted one flight, three days prior to the fatal accident, on March 20th.