One of planes in mid-air crash had no 'transponder' device
ONE of two aircraft involved in a mid-air collision that caused the death of a Derbyshire pilot was not equipped with a device that may have averted the tragedy, an inquest heard.
The Rand KR-2 plane was not fitted with a "transponder" that would have given air traffic controllers more detail about its altitude.
The kit-plane did appear on the radar screens at Coventry Airport, near the scene of the smash in Warwickshire, but with limited information.
On August 17, 2008, the single-engined kit-plane was in collision with a twin-prop Cessna 402C, killing five people.
Orders taken over £2000 , will receive £100 off and the option to take 2 years interest free credit
Terms: £100 off only on orders over £2000 with the option to take 2 years interest free credit , this offer ends bank holiday Monday 27th may 4 pm , this voucher must be printed and presented on ordering .
Contact: 01332 419898
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
An inquest being held at Warwickshire Justice Centre, in Leamington, was told there was "no requirement" for small aircraft like the Rand KR-2 to have a transponder.
But air traffic controller John Tarplin, on radar duty at the airport on the day, told the hearing: "It would ease our job considerably because if you can identify a particular aircraft on the radar, you have a better awareness of where aircraft are.
"Transponders also actually 'talk' to each other – they tell each other if there's a conflict and warn the pilot."
On board the Cessna was pilot Sophie Hastings, 28, from Swadlincote, alongside her co-pilot, Sybille Gautrey, 33, from Towcester, Harvey Antrobus, aged 28, of Fillongley, and James Beagley, 34, of Warwick.
They all worked for Baginton aerial survey company Reconnaissance Ventures Limited and were calibrating the landing guidance system at Coventry Airport, a mission that involved making three high-speed low-level passes over the runway without landing.
At the controls of his kit plane was 70-year-old Brian Normington, from Blackdown, in Leamington.
The inquest heard that air traffic controllers had been given conflicting information regarding the nature of the Cessna flight.
One sheet of paper said it was an instrument landing system test and another said it was an instrument rating test.
Mr Tarplin said: "I did not know specifics about what the aircraft was wishing to do that day."
Both aircraft were in so-called "uncontrolled" airspace where pilots have a responsibility to "see and avoid" a collision based on information given to them by air traffic controllers.
Once an aircraft re-enters an airport's airspace, the responsibility transfers from the radar operator to the tower controller.
The inquest heard that both pilots and the four air traffic controllers on duty were properly licensed.
None had medical conditions that would have affected flight safety.
A jury is presiding over the inquest, though no person or organisation is on trial and there is no prosecution or defence.
The hearing continues.