Skydiving operator told about faulty seat before fatal crash
A Queensland skydiving company which operated a plane that crashed killing five people was warned about the dangers of a faulty pilot seat, an inquest has heard.
Experienced pilot Andrew Aitken died when his Cessna 206 crashed and burst into flames after rolling left about 60 metres in the air from the Caboolture Airfield, north of Brisbane, in March 2014.
Skydiving first-timer Joey King, his fiancee Rahula Hohua and Adrenalin Skydive instructors Glenn Norman and Juraj Glesk were also killed.
An inquest in Brisbane has heard unwanted movement by the pilot seat may have been the cause of the crash, which occurred during clear weather.
Mechanisms to prevent Mr Aitken's seat suddenly sliding backwards on its rails away from the controls were missing, according to transport safety investigators.
Independent pilot Ronald George Creed, who owned an airstrip the skydiving company rented, said he noticed a week before the fatal accident the plane did not have seat-stop mechanisms.
"I told them about the seat stops," he said in evidence today.
"I've always got my stops in because I know how critical it is."
Mr Creed said he would also check for unwanted movement when flying himself by performing a check known as the "Cessna wiggle".
He said he also noticed the pilot's seat was off its rails before fixing it, warning it presented a significant safety risk.
But the Adrenalin pilot "didn't treat it very seriously", he claimed.
"(I said) this has to be on the rails. It was obvious he didn't understand," Mr Creed said.
Mr Creed said he believed Adrenalin ran a safe operation apart from the pilot seat issue.
Hours before the doomed skydiving flight one of the victims posted on social media how he was aiming to overcome his "greatest fear".
Joey King wrote on his Facebook page: "So I woke up this morning nervous as hell about skydiving today. I'm about to conquer my greatest fear. I love everyone."
A friend jokingly commented "it was nice meeting you bro..."
King and his fiancee Rahula Hohua who also died left behind five children between them after the crash four years ago.
The crash was witnessed by more than a dozen pilots who told the Australian Transport Safety Bureau it stalled around 60 metres in the air before twisting left and plummeting into the runway.
The ATSB investigation was inconclusive but the report suggests the crash was consistent with a seat slide incident.
The inquest continues.