Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pontian plane crash: Pilot was to begin grad school

SINGAPORE: Malaysian authorities will send a team to Pontian, Johor, where a plane piloted by a Singaporean crashed on Sunday, as part of investigations into the accident.

The late pilot's mother told Channel NewsAsia arrangements are being made to bring Samuel Ling Shi Min's body back to Singapore.

But after the plane he was piloting crashed in Pontian, condolences have been pouring in.

The 25-year-old was to have started his postgraduate studies at the Singapore Management University (SMU) in August.

Professor Bryce Hool from SMU School of Economics said the university is saddened by the tragic news and would render any assistance possible to Mr Ling's family.

Mr Ling had enrolled into the School of Economics' Master of Science in Applied Economics programme.

Mr Ling's last Facebook post before the incident has also been making its rounds on the internet.

In his last Facebook posting, he had asked if it was normal to do "crazy things" during a solo flight.

He then went on to describe several moves he performed "out of boredom".

One aviation expert told Channel NewsAsia the moves described in the post sounded like aerobatic moves.

Manager of the Republic of Singapore Flying Club, Lee Buck Choon, said: "If beginning of July was his first solo, I would assume that he's trying to get his private pilot licence.

"So for a person who is trying to get his private pilot licence, those manoeuvres are not required for a private pilot licence.

"Unless you have a private pilot licence and you want to learn aerobatics, then yes you'd probably do it, then you'd be doing these aerobatic manoeuvres."

Many aviation enthusiasts in Singapore travel to Johor to fly.

A member of FRAS flying club, the same club that Ling had enrolled in, said it costs about 50 per cent cheaper compared to Singapore.

The member, who did not want to be named, said the club is "very strict" in its safety and training requirements.

Private pilots typically need to clock in at least 40 hours of training with an instructor before they are certified to fly solo.

Another Singaporean who travels to Johor for flying lessons said flying in the area is generally safe.

This person said: "The airspace over the area is quite large, except for a mountain, which on a clear day you can see very clearly, so I don't see any danger."

Malaysia's Transport Ministry chief inspector of Air Accidents, Idros Abdul Raman, told Channel NewsAsia the investigation team will study the wreckage and will take about two days to complete.

The team, which consists a pilot and an engineer from the Department of Civil Aviation, will study the wreckage.

They will also look at both the aircraft's and Mr Ling's flying records.

View the original article here

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