Tiger Moth pilot hailed a hero
NICK Rorison has been hailed a hero by the Whitsunday community after making an emergency landing in a Tiger Moth plane yesterday afternoon.
Around 2.30pm, the plane's propeller started making a strange noise and Mr Rorison was forced to land at Funnel Bay.
Mr Rorison had Steve Bell, a passenger, on board at the time.
Completely unaware of the praise he had received from the public since news of the incident spread late yesterday afternoon, Mr Rorison said hearing of the response was "fantastic".
"We love the Airlie community and it's comforting to know they're there," he said.
"We'll endeavour to continue our great performance out there (in the Whitsunday skies)."
A commercial pilot since 2005, Mr Rorison said he just did what his training had taught him.
"Our first priority in that sort of situation is getting both of us on the ground safely," he said.
"As part of pilot training we go through extensive training so we are prepared for these kinds of situations and then we fall back on that."
Chief Pilot at Tiger Moth Adventures, Peter Hearnshaw said Mr Rorison was a highly respected pilot at the Whitsunday airport in Flametree.
"His training kicked in and we're very proud of what he's done and he's done an excellent job," he said.
"There are people who have got more (flying) hours than Nick and aren't as confident in what to do but Nick was cool, calm and collected and knew what his priority was and that was his passenger and himself."
Footage captured on a camera fitted on board the aircraft caught a possible cause of the propeller's failure.
Mr Hearnshaw said after reviewing the video of the flight with Mr Rorison it appeared the plane could have encountered a bird strike.
"The reason we believe this is because on the video, it appears the camera was knocked by something flying back," he said.
"All of this information will be sent back to the ATSB (Australian Transport Safety Bureau) and they will determine a possible cause.
"We're not making assumptions and we can't say what the problem was but there was failure of the propeller and there was evidence that something came backwards, hit the camera and pushed the camera upwards."
Mr Rorison said despite yesterday's situation being a rarity, it was important to remember problems could occur.
"We have to make sure we don't endanger ourselves or our passengers," he said.
"It was a very unfortunate thing to have happen but we are thankful we were able to walk away without a scratch."