"Inspirational" Ballina pilot remains critical after crash

Emergency services respond to an air vehicle crash near Knockrow off Martin's Lane.
Emergency services respond to an air vehicle crash near Knockrow off Martin's Lane. Marc Stapelberg

A BALLINA pilot is in a critical condition after his ultra-light aircraft crashed to the ground on a property at Knockrow, near Ballina, yesterday morning.

Ian Byrne, 73, was seen flying over a private airstrip at Paperbark Estate on Martins Lane when the engine appeared to stall.

>> Ian Byrne "one of the best guys around"

Paul Scanlan, who lives on the neighbouring property, said he saw the ultra-light take off from the property that morning.

"It just did a couple of circuits over the airstrip and seemed to have engine failure then, and just dropped down and clipped that tree unfortunately," he said.

Emergency services were called to the property about 9am following reports that a small aircraft had crashed.

An RFS spokeswoman said the aircraft clipped a tree and was turned upside down, trapping the pilot.

"The aircraft was upside down (and) the sole occupant was trapped and needed to be rescued," she said.

Doctors and paramedics on board the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter worked to stabilise the patient before he was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

A spokesman for the helicopter said Mr Byrne suffered a severe head injury, possible spinal injury and pelvic injury.

Staff at the hospital last night said he was in the emergency department in a critical, but stable, condition and would be transferred to intensive care.

A crime scene has been established at the location and will be examined by forensic specialists.

Recreational Aviation Australia will also be working to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the crash.

Emergency services personnel respond to an ultra-light crash on private property near Knockrow off Martins Lane.
Emergency services personnel respond to an ultra-light crash on private property near Knockrow off Martins Lane.

Ian Byrne "one of the best guys around"

IAN Byrne is a long-time member of both the Ballina Aero Club and Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Association.

RESPECTED: Ian Byrne, the Ballina pilot injured in yesterday’s crash.
RESPECTED: Ian Byrne, the Ballina pilot injured in yesterday’s crash.

Aviation museum president Rod Kinnish said Mr Byrne had been an "inspirational" and "hard working" member since 2012, not long after the museum first opened.

"He's one of the best guys around … (and) he's certainly been flying a long time," he said.

"He's a very experienced pilot; his knowledge and understanding of aviation history and the people in the Northern Rivers region is unsurpassed and he's just loved and respected by everyone.

"He's an inspirational and hard-working person who has brought aviation to everyone."

Ballina Aero Club president Gary Faulks said Mr Byrne was a keen member of both clubs.

"He is really involved with the aero club and the aviation museum at Evans Head."

Mr Byrne is also involved in the annual Evans Head Great Eastern Fly-In.

Topics:  editors picks knockrow plane crash

Special strike force captures alleged ice dealer

90 grams of crystal methamphetamine was found in a car on the Coffs Coast. Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said the drug is cloudy and of poor quality and posed a significant risk to meth users.

22 JULY 2015

Photo Gemima Harvey/Coffs Coast Advocate

Accused Wardell man, 42, to face Lismore Court today

Photographer focuses lens on women of Byron

Photographer Saskia Koerner loves our surfing women at Byron Bay.

Mix of salty water, pumping waves and a woman's form is magic recipe

Two New Zealand holidays up for grabs!

The stunning Larnarch Castle is a must-see when in Dunedin. Photo: contributed

THE only thing better than a holiday, is one that's free!

Local Partners

Why Hollywood’s siding with Brad Pitt over Angelina Jolie

TOWARD the end of last month’s Golden Globes ceremony, the producer of the nominated drama Moonlight made a surprise onstage appearance: Brad Pitt.

Tensions high at pointy end of MKR's round two

Things are really heating up on My Kitchen Rules.

Games are being played around the My Kitchen Rules table

Jungle Jay sent packing from I'm a Celebrity

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Here! contestant Jay Laga'aia with Keira.

BIG friendly giant Jay Laga'aia has been eliminated from I'm A Celeb

Carson Kressley brings 'camp' to I'm a Celebrity jungle

"I am not all Park Avenue and daffodils” ... Carson Kressley.

Meet the "campest” campmate to star on I'm a Celebrity.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mystery already solved

FILE- This undated file photo provided by Disney shows Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from the film, \"Star Wars: The Force Awakens.\" Hasbro said it is changing its Star Wars Monopoly set after an 8-year-old girl became upset that Rey, the movie's female heroine, was not included as a figure along with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. (Disney/Lucasfilm via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

A key mystery surrounding the title of episode eight has been solved

Kids' game "full of f**king paedophiles" according to dad

A mortified dad has expressed serious concerns over an online game

Lisa Marie Presley's ex caught with child pics: court

Lisa Marie Presley, at right, and her husband, Michael Lockwood back in 2010. FILE

Lisa Marie, 49, claimed she was left “sick to her stomach”

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Proposed $21 million airpark in holding pattern

A front view of the proposed new aviation museum at Evans Head.

Late businessman's dream on hold ... for now

Clarence River island paradise selling for $5M

Former Ballina councillor Margaret Howes is selling her island getaway.

GALLERY: Tropical getaway with beaches and airstrip put on market.

Bidding could start at $1.4M for sought after property

Farrell McCrohon's Jojo Newby rides on a property recently listed at Buccarumbi

One of largest rural properties on market to go under hammer today

What $11.9m can get you on Coast's most exclusive street

29-31 Wyuna Drive Noosaville Qld 4566

This is what a cool $11.9m can get you

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!