Crash of a Rockwell Aero Commander 500S off Horn Island: 1 killed

Date & Time: Feb 24, 2011 at 0800 LT
Operator:
Registration:
VH-WZU
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Cairns - Horn Island
MSN:
3060
YOM:
1970
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
4154
Captain / Total hours on type:
209.00
Aircraft flight hours:
17545
Circumstances:
At 0445 Eastern Standard Time on 24 February 2011, the pilot of an Aero Commander 500S, registered VH-WZU, commenced a freight charter flight from Cairns to Horn Island, Queensland under the instrument flight rules. The aircraft arrived in the Horn Island area at about 0720 and the pilot advised air traffic control that he intended holding east of the island due to low cloud and rain. At about 0750 he advised pilots in the area that he was north of Horn Island and was intending to commence a visual approach. When the aircraft did not arrive a search was commenced but the pilot and aircraft were not found. On about 10 October 2011, the wreckage was located on the seabed about 26 km north-north-west of Horn Island.
Probable cause:
The ATSB found that the aircraft had not broken up in flight and that it impacted the water at a relatively low speed and a near wings-level attitude, consistent with it being under control at impact. It is likely that the pilot encountered rain and reduced visibility when manoeuvring to commence a visual approach. However, there was insufficient evidence available to determine why the aircraft impacted the water.
Several aspects of the flight increased risk. The pilot had less than 4 hours sleep during the night before the flight and the operator did not have any procedures or guidance in place to minimize the fatigue risk associated with early starts. In addition, the pilot, who was also the operator’s chief pilot, had either not met the recency requirements or did not have an endorsement to conduct the types of instrument approaches available at Horn Island and several other locations frequently used by the operator.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Shrike Commander 500S in Horn Island

Date & Time: Oct 21, 1998 at 0940 LT
Registration:
VH-YJT
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Boigu Island-Horn Island
MSN:
500-3089
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
2045
Captain / Total hours on type:
79.00

Crash of a Rockwell Aero Commander 500 in Horn Island: 1 killed

Date & Time: Dec 12, 1995 at 0918 LT
Registration:
VH-UJP
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Horn Island-Horn Island
MSN:
500-3074
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
11740
Captain / Total hours on type:
119.00

Crash of a Lockheed L-414-08-10 Hudson IV on Horn Island

Date & Time: Dec 22, 1973
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-AGX
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
6051
YOM:
1942
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
During the takeoff roll, al loss of hydraulic pressure forced the crew to abort. Unable to stop within the remaining distance, the twin engine airplane overran and came to rest against an embankment. Both pilots were injured and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
Photos via www.aussieairliners.org

Crash of a Lockheed L-414-56 Hudson in Horn Island: 6 killed

Date & Time: Jul 1, 1957 at 1535 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-AGO
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Horn - Weipa Mission
MSN:
414-6429
YOM:
1942
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
3
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Aircraft flight hours:
3083
Circumstances:
At 0735 hours, the aircraft departed Horn Island with only the normal crew on board to conduct aerial photography over the northern portion of the Cape York Peninsula. The aircraft returned to Horn Island at about midday and was refueled to full tanks. The crew lunched with the crew of World Wide Aerial Surveys Hudson VH-SMM which was also conducting aerial photography in the area. After lunch the three passengers boarded VH-AGO which set course for Weipa Mission at 1516 hours. At 1523 hours, Captain Linfoot advised the communication station on Thursday Island that he was returning to Horn Island with engine trouble and requesting that VH-SMM be held on the ground at Horn Island to render assistance if required. Following a baulked approach at Horn Island, the aircraft crashed on a tidal mud shelf 1.25 miles north-west of Horn Island Aerodrome at approximately 1535 hours. It was subsequently established that the port engine had seized as a result of a master rod bearing failure. The inquiry determined that VH-AGO had a total time of 3083 hours with 260 hours since last overhaul.
The following account of the accident is extracted from "Aviation Safety Digest":
"The aircraft was temporarily based at the Weipa Mission aerodrome, northern Queensland, with the normal crew consisting of a pilot, a navigator and a photographic assistant. On the day before the accident the aircraft was flown on a private flight from Weipa Mission to the Horn Island aerodrome with three non-paying passengers aboard in addition to the crew. The aircraft remained overnight at Horn Island, and early on the following morning took off with the normal crew, and carried out survey work over a period of some four hours. The aircraft returned to Horn lsland at about midday and was refueled. During the same morning another Hudson aircraft (VH-SMM of WWAS. Ed.) engaged on photographic survey work had arrived at the aerodrome and the two crews lunched together. Both aircraft were prepared for departure and the three passengers again boarded the Weipa Mission aircraft, which took-off first and set course at 1518 hours E.S.T. intending to climb to 7,000 feet en route for Weipa, 45 minutes flying time to the south. Five minutes after departure the pilot of this aircraft advised the communication station at Thursday Island that trouble had developed in the port engine and that he was returning, to land at Horn Island. He also asked that the other Hudson aircraft be held on the ground in case some assistance was needed. At the stage that this message was relayed to the captain of the second Hudson the aircraft was lined up for take-oft but immediately vacated the strip. The captain watched the circuit and approach of the other aircraft from a position clear of, but adjacent to, the threshold of Runway 08. The returning aircraft was seen to cross Runway 08 and then turn downwind at a height of 1,500-1,700 feet and proceed with a left-hand circuit towards the threshold of that runway. As the aircraft turned on to final approach at about the normal distance from the threshold but still unusually high, the ground observers noticed that the undercarriage had not been extended. The aircraft continued to descend in this configuration and it seemed likely at this stage that a wheels-up landing would be made well down the strip. When the aircraft had reached a point approximately 600 feet from the threshold and 150 feet above ground level the undercarriage was observed to extend and it was also noticed that the port propeller was feathered. At this point there appeared to be no wing flap extended and the aircraft crossed the strip threshold at a height of more than 100 feet and at a speed estimated to be well in excess of the normal approach speed. Soon after the aircraft had passed the threshold it was seen to roll and turn to port and this motion continued until the aircraft disappeared from view at such a height and angle of bank that an accident seemed imminent. The pilot of the Hudson on the ground immediately took-off and located the wrecked aircraft on a coral mud shelf just beyond the northern shore of the island. Ground parties discovered that the aircraft had been virtually destroyed by very high impact forces and the six occupants had lost their lives."
Those on board at the time of the crash were:
Joseph (Joe) Linfoot (Captain)
Hermione Ivy (Josie) Linfoot (Wife of the Captain)
Graham Holstock (Navigator)
Harold Corrigan (Camera Operator)
William Frank Mitchell (Director of Mitchell Aerial Services Pty Ltd, Cairns)
Lionel Kenneth George Jeffery (a pilot intending to join Adastra).
Source & photos:
http://www.adastron.com/adastra/aircraft/hudson/vh-ago.htm
Probable cause:
The official report found that a baulked approach was initiated at or near the threshold of Runway 08. It was concluded that given the speed and height of the approach, a baulked approach was essential to avoid over-running the airstrip. The reference to a council truck may be related to the fact that the DCA groundsman was directed to drive his vehicle on to the runway to prevent Hudson VH-SMM from taking-off at the request of the captain of VH-AGO.

Crash of a De Havilland DH.84 Dragon in Turnagain Island

Date & Time: May 12, 1948
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-AKX
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Site:
Schedule:
Lae – Daru – Horn Island – Sydney
MSN:
2061
YOM:
1943
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
On May 11, the pilot John Spiers left Lae on a ferry flight to Sydney for the annual CofA renewal. On May 12, he departed Daru for Horn Island. Halfway across Torres Strait, he encountered a severe rain storm and turned back to Daru. At low level over sea, the pilot saw a small low mudflat island, so made a forced landing there, wrecking the Dragon. No radio on the aircraft, so Spiers waited to be found. A search was made by a Mandated Airlines C-47 with pilots Brian Carpenter and Tom Deegan as far south as the Australian Gulf country for 3 days. When returning to Daru from Horn Island, they spotted the Dragon on the mudflat island with Spiers sitting on the roof of the aircraft. He had been unable to find food and at high tide the island was mostly under water, so he stayed in the cabin of the Dragon while the sea gradually broke up the aircraft for 6 days without food, surviving by drinking rainwater. RAAF Catalina from Port Moresby landed off Turnagain Island, sent a crew member ashore in a rubber dinghy to collect Spiers. A storm blew up so Catalina returned to Moresby, leaving the two men on the island. They were rescued by a pearling lugger sent from Thursday Island.
Source: http://www.goodall.com.au

Crash of a Douglas C-49H on Hord Island: 6 killed

Date & Time: May 5, 1945 at 0518 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
44-83228
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Brisbane - Horn Island
MSN:
1941
YOM:
1937
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Circumstances:
The descent to Horn Island-Higgins Field was attempted by night and low visibility. On approach, the twin engine aircraft hit tree tops and crashed in a wooded area near the airport, killing all six occupants.
Crew:
F/O William Ernest Clarke, pilot,
W/O James Hillman Hornbrook, copilot,
F/Sgt Neville Tasman Browne, flight engineer,
W/O Alfred Henry Gidley, radio operator.

Crash of a Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress in Horn Island: 2 killed

Date & Time: Mar 24, 1944
Operator:
Registration:
41-2497
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
2308
YOM:
1941
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
10
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
7
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Circumstances:
On final approach to Horn Island Airport, at a height of 250 feet, the aircraft nosed up, stalled and crashed in a mangrove on the shore. All 17 occupants were injured while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. Later, two crew members died from their injuries.
Crew (317th TCG):
Cpt William Compton, pilot,
1st Lt Donovan, copilot,
1st Lt Paul Maaske,
T/Sgt Paul Paddilla,
S/Sgt J. C. Matthowa, †
Cpl Julian Simmons, †
2nd Lt Edward Scudero,
T/Sgt Delbert Steinka,
T/Sgt C. M. Porter,
S/Sgt Charles Kreig.
Passengers:
T/Sgt Cecil Clarke,
P. F. C. Swain,
S/Sgt John Masiars,
Pte Daniel Pechman,
Pte Paul Graf,
T/Sgt T. Underwood,
Pfc James Colorusso.

Crash of a Douglas C-47-DL off the Turtle Head Island

Date & Time: Dec 14, 1943 at 0905 LT
Operator:
Registration:
A65-3
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Cooktown – Horn Island
MSN:
9012
YOM:
1943
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
11
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
While flying along the east shore of Queensland, the left engine failed. For unknown reason, the propeller was not feathered, causing an excessive drag. In such situation, the captain decided to ditch the aircraft 1,5 km south of the Turtle Head Island. While all 14 occupants were rescued, the aircraft sank and was lost. At the time of the accident, the aircraft was carrying a load of cargo for a total of 2,740 kilos and 660 gallons of fuel. This caused the plane to be 1206 lbs (550 kg) overloaded.
Crew (36th Squadron):
F/Lt John Donellan Balfe, pilot,
Sgt Norman Properjohn,
F/Sgt T. H. Dennis.
Passengers:
P/O L. R. Ballard,
W/O P. G. Brown,
F/Lt R. S. Lovell,
Sgt R. Lucus,
ACI M. Van de Velde,
ACI E. C. Nason,
LAC C. T. Haylen,
LAC S. S. Collinson,
F/Sgt F. Potten,
Lt Fagg,
Col Collines.
Probable cause:
Overloaded, left engine failure (fuel exhaustion).

Crash of a Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress off Horn Island: 3 killed

Date & Time: Jul 13, 1942 at 0232 LT
Operator:
Registration:
41-2655
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Horn Island - Horn Island
MSN:
2466
YOM:
1941
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
9
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Circumstances:
Shortly after a night take off, while in initial climb, the aircraft stalled and crashed into the sea some 300-400 meters off shore. Three crewmen were killed while six others were rescued. A first B-17 registered 41-2636 crashed at the same location and in similar circumstances two minutes earlier.
Crew:
Lt Paul D. Lindsay, pilot,
Lt Edward R. Budz, navigator, †
Sgt Ralph Dietz, air gunner,
Sgt Vernon O. Elder, air gunner,
S/Sgt Houston A. Rice, †
S/Sgt James E. Houchins. †