Published date: 14 June 2022

CAA finds Wellington microlight pilot’s loss of directional control led to fatal accident.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has released its report into the cause of a fatal accident at Kaitoke airstrip, north of Upper Hutt, 23 November 2020.

The pilot, owner of the Sabre 503 Trike ZK-JHE, who had 91.8 hours total flight time carried out in that aircraft, was described as a ‘fair weather flier’ who did not take unnecessary risks. 

The pilot had been seen by witnesses at a local gun club as he conducted a series of circuits of the airstrip. The witnesses heard the aircraft flying towards the airstrip while on final approach, followed by what was described as a ‘thud’ or similar sound, and then silence. They called the police to report what they suspected was a crash.

Police and rescue services arrived at the airstrip and located the aircraft in scrub adjacent to the edge of the airstrip. When they found the pilot, he had suffered fatal injuries as a result of the accident.  

Our safety investigation determined that the accident most likely occurred as a result of the pilot losing directional control of the aircraft during the final approach to land, because of gusty crosswind conditions.

A more detailed description of the accident can be found in the report here.

Please contact the CAA media team for further information:
027 763 0000 |


A CAA safety investigation seeks to provide the Director of Civil Aviation with the information required to assess which, if any, risk-based intervention tools may be required to attain CAA safety objectives.

The purpose of a CAA safety investigation is to determine the circumstances and identify contributory factors to an accident or incident with the purpose of minimising or reducing the risk to an acceptable level of a similar occurrence arising in the future.

The safety investigation does not seek to ascribe responsibility to any person but to establish the contributory factors to the accident or incident based on the balance of probability.