Investigators Try to Unravel Fatal Crash

Article excerpt

The wreckage of a homemade biplane is being examined while Manitoba's flying community mourns two of its members killed in a crash Wednesday in Manitou.

Tony Butt, 48, and Gilbert Bourrier, 64, died when the open-cockpit plane suddenly rolled then dove nose-first into a lagoon shortly after takeoff.

Investigators are trying to find out why the Acro Sport II crashed.

Butt built the biplane in 2006 and would've had it inspected by Transport Canada before it was registered to fly, said Peter Hildebrand, the Transportation Safety Board's regional manager.

The biplane wreckage has been moved to the Transportation Safety Board's shop in Winnipeg for a thorough inspection, he said. Crash investigators have looked at some of the biplane parts already.

"There's no technical fault discovered to date," he said. "There's no evidence from people who heard the plane take off then crash that the motor cut out or malfunctioned.

"We're not so much concerned with the engine at this stage, but the controls and the structure because that would affect someone's ability (to safely land the plane). If the engine stopped, you'd have to make a forced landing. That's not the situation here. Our information is the engine was producing normal power throughout the flight."

They'll also be looking at the chief medical examiner's report on "all manner of things" including toxicology tests and the physical health of the deceased to see if that played a role in the fatal crash, Hildebrand said.

Bourrier was in the final stages of receiving training from Butt on the high-performance aerobatic plane. The members of the Springfield Flying Club were renowned for sharing their love of aviation, said Bill Zuk, the former executive director of the Manitoba Aviation Council. …