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Air Force Training Aircraft Crashes at Bali's Airport

Investigation Continue into Non-Fatal Crash of Air Force Training Aircraft at Bali's International Airport.

(6/28/2010) Flights in and out of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport were delayed for more than an hour on Thursday afternoon, June 24, 2010, when an Indonesian Air Force training aircraft on a joy flight crashed upon landing.

A Korean-made KT-1 Wong Bee single-engine aircraft carrying the commander of Bali's Udayana IX Military District, Major General Rachmat Budiytanto, and pilot Major Andi Wijarnarko was destroyed as both men ejected on touchdown. The men then landed with emergency parachutes near the wreckage of the downed aircraft.

The Udayana Military Commander, invited together with a number of local dignitaries for a Bali joy flight on four training aircraft, reportedly pulled the detonating cord for the ejection system that sent both him and the pilot-in-command hurling skyward as parachutes deployed to bring them back to earth. The standard design of the KT-1 Wong Bee places the "guest" forward of the pilot in a seat situated lower than the rear-pilot or instructor's seat. Both passengers sit beneath a clear canopy that is jettisoned whenever one of the of them detonates the ejection system.

Press reports insist Major General Budiyanto "did not panic" but, at the same time indicate that he, as a passenger, was the one to pull the lever that separated the men from the aircraft. The Jakarta Post, quoting an Udayana Military Command spokesman, said "Budiyanto decided to eject because he felt there was something unusual with the plane."

Budiyanto suffered minor injuries in the mishap while the plane's pilot suffered more severe injuries, including head wounds, and is warded under strict guard at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital. Officials are refusing to comment on the crash while a special investigative team from the Air Force is on scene reviewing the incident.

The remaining three guests on joy flights in the other three aircraft landed safely. The invited passengers were Budiyanto, the Regency's Consensus Leader (Muspida), the head of the Bali branch of Bank Indonesia and Bali's Chief of Police. Bali's governor was also invited to join the local flight but was forced to cancel due to scheduling conflicts.

The four KT-1 Wong Bee training aircraft were visiting Bali from their home base in Yogyakarta, Central Java, as part of cross-country navigation exercise.