Pilot crashes at airshow

Campbell River pilot Dr. Bill Phipps, 71, is in stable condition after crashing his biplane during an airshow at Nanaimo Airport on June 4

Dr. Bill Phipps performing in his biplane at the 2010 Mother Day Fly In at the Cache Creek airport

Dr. Bill Phipps performing in his biplane at the 2010 Mother Day Fly In at the Cache Creek airport

Campbell River pilot Dr. Bill Phipps, 71, is listed in stable condition after a dramatic crash during an airshow at Nanaimo Airport on June 4.

Phipps, who has performed in his white bi-plane at the annual Fly In at the Campbell Hill airport since 2005, was the Nanaimo airshow’s opening act. Six minutes into the eight minute performance, a thousand people watched his self-built Steen Skybolt bi-plane crash into a grassy section off the tarmac.

Phipps was conscious when fire crews at the scene arrived minutes later and cut him from the cockpit. He suffered significant facial and internal injuries as well as broken bones. No one on the ground was injured, but the plane was destroyed.

Phipps’ biplane was a kit plane made of white fabric and a wooden frame and bore the call sign, C-FIPS. It is featured on the cover of The Journal’s 2011 telephone directory “Connector”. In the cover’s picture, the plane in the air, with a curl of smoke following it.

Transport Canada will be investigating the accident.