Monday August 17, 2009
Inventor killed in Jetpod crash
By RASLAN BAHAROM
TAIPING: A prototype of the ‘flying taxi’ belonging to British-based Avcen Ltd crashed and burst into flames during a test flight from Tekah airstrip, killing its inventor Michael Robert Dacre.
Dacre, 53, who is also Avcen’s managing director, died in the 12.30pm crash yesterday. He was piloting the newly-assembled Jetpod.
Avcen Limited Malaysia is based at Patimas Technology Centre, Technology Park, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur and Dacre had intended for the eight-seater flying taxi to be ready in 2010.
Taiping deputy police chief Supt Syed Abdul Wahab Abdul Majid said Dacre suffered severe burns and injuries and died at the scene.
The incident was witnessed by many residents including retired soldier Halim Hamid.
Halim, 50, who resides at nearby Taman Saujana Jaya said he was scooping shrimps to feed his pet fish at a pond about 50m from where the aircraft had crashed.
“Earlier, I saw it revving down the runway thrice but it could not take off and later another three times in the opposite direction.”
“However, on the fourth run, the jet took off but at about 200m high, it shot vertically to the sky before veering to the left and falling to the ground.”
“There was a loud explosion when it crashed and firemen who were at the scene managed to put out the blaze,” said Halim.
He said the Jetpod, brought in parts in a lorry container, arrived at the airstrip about a week ago.
Police personnel at the scene were seen collecting the pilot’s burnt and dismembered limbs from the wreckage before sending them to the Taiping hospital mortuary.
Some of the residents said a co-pilot had wanted to accompany the deceased on the test flight but the latter was against it and decided to fly alone instead.
Several Royal Malaysian Air Force personnel were at the scene to check the wreckage of the aircraft.