The fixed-wing aircraft crash landed into trees on a property after the plane failed to maintain altitude on a fertiliser run at Dalby about 5am Friday.
The fixed-wing aircraft crash landed into trees on a property after the plane failed to maintain altitude on a fertiliser run at Dalby about 5am Friday. Nicole McDougall

Pilot survives plane crash, hitch-hikes to hospital

A PILOT has survived an early morning crash landing after his aircraft failed to maintain altitude after a safe take-off.

The male pilot, 78, on a fertiliser run over a paddock 5km from Dalby had navigated a safe take off.

But as his Ayres Thrush 600 single-prop fixed-wing aircraft ascended, it failed to maintain altitude.

In an effort to control the situation, the experienced pilot dumped his load of fertiliser before the plane crash-landed in the paddock, about 500m from the Bunya Highway.

EMERGENCY LANDING: The Ayres-Thrush 600 made an emergency landing along the Bunya Highway, 5km out of Dalby.
EMERGENCY LANDING: The Ayres-Thrush 600 made an emergency landing along the Bunya Highway, 5km out of Dalby. Contributed

The pilot, who suffered minor injuries, walked to the highway and flagged down a motorist to get a lift to hospital.

Police said the plane was extensively damaged and was a "write-off" in the crash, but the pilot's actions were commended for his control of the situation.

Investigations are under way to determine what caused the plane to lose altitude, with initial inquiries indicating the plane was mechanically sound and fully serviced prior to take-off.

Toowoomba Workplace Health and Safety is investigating.