EXCLUSIVE: BAE trainer-planes grounded

THE emergency landing of a plane in a paddock earlier this week has forced the entire fleet back on the ground in Tamworth.

MALFUNCTION: The entire fleet of CT/4B planes have been taken out of operation temporarily after a malfunction forced an emergency landing earlier this week. Photo: Namoi Valley Independent

MALFUNCTION: The entire fleet of CT/4B planes have been taken out of operation temporarily after a malfunction forced an emergency landing earlier this week. Photo: Namoi Valley Independent

The Department of Defence has confirmed to The Leader the fleet of CT/4B planes are temporarily out of action as a result of Tuesday’s incident.

A spokesman for the Department said last night it had “temporarily paused flight operations” in Tamworth.

The CT/4B planes are operated by BAE Systems and a decision was made to cease operations on Tuesday while an investigation into what caused the malfunction was under way.

“Safety is the most important priority for RAAF operations,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“RAAF aircraft are serviced and flown under a very strict and controlled airworthiness and safety system. 

“All aircraft are under constant surveillance to ensure that they maintain the highest standards.”

The spokesman said all of the aircraft would be assessed to eliminate any risks.

Tamworth is the only base where the fleet of planes operates for basic flight training.

The Department of Defence was last night unable to confirm when the temporary suspension,  which has seen a number of training flights for student pilots cancelled this week, would be lifted.

It was sparked after a mayday call by a CT/4B Airtrainer over the Breeza Plains about 9.20am on Tuesday.

A Royal Australian Air Force  instructor and student were on board the single engine plane when it experienced a flight control restriction.

The malfunction forced the pair to make an emergency landing in a paddock where they walked away unscathed.

The aircraft has since been flown back to Tamworth.

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