Unmarked Powerline Claims Lives in Rural Plane Crash, Sparking Calls for Safety Measures

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Unmarked Powerline Claims Lives in Rural Plane Crash, Sparking Calls for Safety Measures

Powerlines and Rural Airstrips

A tragic accident in South Australia has reignited calls for increased safety measures around powerlines near rural airstrips. In October 2022, a father and son lost their lives when their light aircraft collided with a single powerline on their property. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigation concluded that the pilot likely did not see the powerline, highlighting the significant risk they pose to low-flying aircraft.

While larger airports have marked powerlines, there is no legal requirement for such markings near private airstrips. This leaves pilots relying on awareness and careful planning to avoid these potentially deadly obstacles. However, powerlines are notoriously difficult to see, especially in the air.

Transport safety advocates are urging for more power companies to offer subsidies for powerline marking near rural airstrips. This would help mitigate the risk of accidents and potentially save lives. Several states already offer such programs, and South Australia is being encouraged to follow suit.

While pilot awareness and preparation are crucial, a subsidy program could significantly improve safety for those operating in rural areas. It is a matter of balancing responsibility between pilots and property owners, with the ultimate goal of preventing further tragedies.