THE Grumman G-73 Mallard plane that crashed into the Swan River during Australia Day festivities was built in 1948 and was a former Indonesian police plane.
The restored plane was being flown yesterday by Peter Lynch, 52, when it crashed just after 5pm, killing Mr Lynch and his partner Endah Cakrawati.
In a 2013 interview with Down Under Aviation Magazine, Mr Lynch described how he wanted to fly from boyhood.
“For me flying was about fulfilling a lifelong ambition, being able to get around a big country much quicker and having fun,” he said
After owning other aircraft, including a twin-engine Comanche, he wanted the water-landing and take-off Grumman G-73 Mallard.
The 12-seater could cope with all his business and personal flying, including its social side and airfield fly-ins.
He said the Mallard, on which he had trained for many hours in Florida when it was purchased, was “a true airborne campervan” that allowed people to walk around its spacious cabin.
The arrival of the Mallard aircraft to the Sport Aircraft Builder’s Club’s (SABC) airfield in Serpentine caused great excitement among its members.
SABC President Shirley Harding said members were lined up to get inside.
“It was just beautiful,” she said.
“Lovely cream leather seats in the middle of the plane.
“On the right hand seat, where the wife must have been sitting, the rudder pedals hinge aside and you could crawl into the belly of the plane and there was a hatch at the top where you could throw a rope out for mooring.
“I’ve never seen such a lovely aircraft.”
The plane had a glamorous past.
Its first owner was a private oil company in Jakarta, and it served in the Indonesian Police Force from 1963 to 1975.
Mr Lynch had ownership of the aircraft transferred to his company Thrillionair Pty Ltd, housed out of Evanshead Airfield in Queensland.
Ms Harding said she met Mr Lynch and his partner briefly but described them as “lovely”.
“The wife was telling me about all the adventures they’d had,” she said.
The SABC said they were devastated by their deaths in a plane crash on the Swan River yesterday.
Ms Harding said the club were in great shock, “at the loss of both the pilot and the beautiful aircraft”.
“I haven’t had time to think; it’s been really upsetting and sad,” she said.
She said SABC did not know what had caused the seaplane to crash and would wait for the findings of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
“At the moment it’s just really sad,” she said.