Plane crash investigations nearly done

A Transport Canada investigation into the June 4 crash of a self-built biplane during an air show at Nanaimo Airport is complete.

A Transport Canada investigation into the June 4 crash of a self-built biplane during an air show at Nanaimo Airport is complete and the Transportation Safety Board expects to wrap its review up soon.

Dr. Bill Phipps, 71, of Campbell River, crashed his Steen Skybolt biplane into a grassy section off the east side of the tarmac during the opening act of the Wings and Wheels air show.

Phipps was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital and underwent surgery to repair multiple compound fractures in his right arm. He was later transferred to Royal Jubilee Hospital for plastic surgery on his face.

Sara Hof, Transport Canada communications officer, said Transport Canada had an inspector on the scene to monitor the air show in accordance with safety and operational regulations under the Aeronautics Act.

Inspectors met with the show’s planners after the crash to discuss the safety plans for the show.

Hof said all the information indicates the air show was in compliance with regulations.

Vince Crooks, a senior investigator with the Transportation Safety Board, said most incidents at an air show don’t warrant an investigation, but a gathering of information.

Crooks said he hopes to get an idea what took place in the moments leading up to the crash through information collected from talking with Phipps, and video of the crash on YouTube.

He also spoke with the Transport Canada investigator and will use that information as well.

“My thoughts at this point is it will probably not go further, but once we speak to Mr. Phipps, we’ll know,” he said.