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Greater Wellington Regional Council

Crash of a PAC Cresco 08-600 near Carterton: 1 killed

Date & Time: Apr 24, 2020 at 0730 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-LTK
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
30
YOM:
2002
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
Crashed shortly after takeoff from a private field located about 20 km southeast of Carterton. The pilot, sole on board, was killed.

Crash of a Convair CV-580F off Paraparaumu: 2 killed

Date & Time: Oct 3, 2003 at 2125 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-KFU
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Christchurch – Palmerston North
MSN:
17
YOM:
1952
Flight number:
AFZ642
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
16928
Captain / Total hours on type:
3286.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
20148
Copilot / Total hours on type:
194
Aircraft flight hours:
66660
Aircraft flight cycles:
98774
Circumstances:
On Friday 3 October 2003, Convair 580 ZK-KFU was scheduled for 2 regular return night freight flights from Christchurch to Palmerston North. The 2-pilot crew arrived at the operatorís base on Christchurch Aerodrome at about 1915 and together they checked load details, weather and notices for the flight. The flight, using the call sign Air Freight 642 (AF642), was to follow a standard route from Christchurch to Palmerston North via Cape Campbell non-directional beacon (NDB), Titahi Bay NDB, Paraparaumu NDB and Foxton reporting point. The pilots completed a pre-flight inspection of ZK-KFU and at 2017 the co-pilot (refer paragraph 1.10.4) called Christchurch Ground requesting a start clearance. The ground controller approved engine start and cleared AF 642 to Palmerston North at flight level 210 (FL 210) and issued a transponder code of 5331. The engines were started and the aircraft taxied for take-off on runway 20. At 2032 AF 642 started its take-off on schedule and tracked initially south towards Burnham NDB before turning right for Cape Campbell NDB, climbing to FL210. The flight progressed normally until crossing Cook Strait. After crossing Cape Campbell NDB, the crew changed to the Wellington Control frequency and at 2108 advised Wellington Control that AF 642 was at FL210, and requested to fly directly to Paraparaumu NDB. The change in routing was common industry practice and offered a shorter distance and flight time with no safety penalty. The Wellington controller approved the request and AF 642 tracked directly to Paraparaumu NDB. At 2113 the Wellington controller cleared AF 642 to descend initially to FL130 (13 000 feet (ft)). The co-pilot acknowledged the clearance. At 2122 the Wellington controller cleared AF 642 for further descent to 11 000 ft, and at 2125 instructed the crew to change to the Ohakea Control frequency. At 2125:14, after crossing Paraparaumu NDB, the co-pilot reported to Ohakea Control that AF 642 was in descent to 11 000 ft. The Ohakea controller responded 'Air Freight 642 Ohakea good evening, descend to 7000 ft. Leave Foxton heading 010, vectors [to] final VOR/DME 076 circling for 25. Palmerston weather Alfa, [QNH] 987.' At 2125:34 the co-pilot replied ìRoger down to 7000 and leaving Foxton heading 010 for 07 approach circling 25 and listening for Alfa. Air Freight 642. At 2125:44 the Ohakea controller replied 'Affirm, the Ohakea QNH 987.' The crew did not respond to this transmission. A short time later the controller saw the radar signature for AF 642 turn left and disappear from the screen. At 2126:17 the Ohakea controller attempted to contact AF 642 but there was no response from the crew. The controller telephoned Police and a search for AF 642 was started. Within an hour of the aircraft disappearing from the radar, some debris, later identified as coming from AF 642, was found washed ashore along Paraparaumu Beach. Later in the evening an aerial search by a Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopter using night vision devices and a sea search by local Coastguard vessels located further debris offshore. After an extensive underwater search lasting nearly a week, aircraft wreckage identified as being from ZK-KFU was located in an area about 4 km offshore from Peka Peka Beach, or about 10 km north of Paraparaumu. Police divers recovered the bodies of the 2 pilots on 11 October and 15 October.
Probable cause:
The following findings were identified:
Findings are listed in order of development and not in order of priority.
- The crew was appropriately licensed and fit to conduct the flight.
- The captain was an experienced company line-training captain, familiar with the aircraft and route.
- The co-pilot while new to the Convair 580 was, nevertheless, an experienced pilot and had flown the route earlier in the week.
- The aircraft had a valid Certificate of Airworthiness and was recorded as being serviceable for the flight.
- The estimated aircraft weight and balance were within limits at the time of the accident.
- With a serviceable weather radar the weather was suitable for the flight to proceed.
- The captain was the flying pilot for the flight from Christchurch to Palmerston North.
- The flight proceeded normally until the aircraft levelled after passing Paraparaumu NDB.
- Why the aircraft was levelled at about 14 400 ft was not determined, but could have been because of increasing or expected turbulence.
- The weather conditions at around the time of the accident were extreme.
- The aircraft descended through an area of forecast severe icing, which was probably beyond the capabilities of the aircraft anti-icing system to prevent ice build-up on the wings and tailplane.
- The crew was probably aware of the presence of icing but might not have been aware of the likely speed and the extent of ice accretion.
- The rate of ice accretion might have left insufficient time for the crew to react and prevent the aircraft stalling.
- The transponder transmissions were impaired probably due to ice build-up on the aerials.
- The aircraft probably stalled because of a rapid build-up of ice, pitching the aircraft nose down and probably disorientating the crew. This could have resulted from a tailplane stall.
- Although the aircraft controls were probably still functional in the descent, a very steep nose down attitude, high speed and a potentially stalled tailplane, made recovery very unlikely.
- Under a combination of high airspeed and G loading, the aircraft started to break-up in midair, probably at about 7000 ft.
- Although there was no evidence to support the possibility of a mechanical failure or other catastrophic event contributing to the accident, given the level of destruction to ZK-KFU and that some sections of the aircraft were not recovered, these possibilities cannot be fully ruled out.
- The crew of AF 642 not being advised of the presence of a new SIGMET concerning severe icing should not have affected the pilotsí general awareness of the conditions being encountered.
- Had the crew been aware of the new SIGMET it might have caused them to be more alert to icing.
- Pilots awareness of the presence of potentially hazardous conditions would be increased if other pilots commonly sent AIREPs when such conditions were encountered.
- Operatorsí manuals, especially for IFR operators, might contain inadequate and misleading information for flight in adverse weather conditions.
- The search for the aircraft and pilots was competently handled in adverse conditions.
- The regular mandatory checks of the CVR failed to show that it was not recording on all channels.
- The lack of any intra cockpit voice recordings hampered and prolonged the investigation.
- The DFDR data and available CVR recordings provided limited but valuable information for the investigation.
- Had more modern and capable recorders been installed on ZK-KFU, significantly more factual information would have be available for the investigation, thus enhancing the investigation and increasing the likelihood of finding a confirmed accident cause, rather than a probable one.
- Had suitable ULB tracking equipment been available, the finding of the wreckage and recovery of the recorders would have been completed more promptly.
- The lack of tracking equipment could have resulted in the recorders not being found, and possibly even the wreckage not being found had it been in deeper water.
Final Report:

Crash of a Fletcher FU-24-950 near Masterton: 1 killed

Date & Time: Apr 19, 2002 at 1013 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-EGO
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
237
YOM:
1977
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
10165
Captain / Total hours on type:
152.00
Circumstances:
On the morning of Friday 19 April 2002, the pilot was engaged in spreading superphosphate on a hill-country property to the south-east of Masterton. Operations had commenced at 0735 hours, after the pilot and loader driver had flown to the airstrip from Masterton. The topdressing proceeded normally for two hours, the pilot taking a refuel and “smoko” break from 0935 to 1000 hours. The left tank only was topped off, as the fuel system design permitted the fuel levels to equalise between the left and right tanks. As was his usual practice, the pilot carried out a full pre-flight inspection during the break. The loader driver noted the time of the first takeoff after the break as 1001 hours. This sortie was completed normally; but the aircraft became overdue on the second. Looking over towards the area being worked, the loader driver saw a column of black smoke; he immediately telephoned the company chief pilot, who was operating another aircraft on a property a short distance to the south-west. The chief pilot had already seen the smoke, and flew across to investigate. He saw the aircraft burning fiercely on the shoulder of a ridge and telephoned emergency services to report the accident. He briefly contemplated landing by the accident site, but decided against it and continued to the airstrip to pick up the loader driver. They flew back to the site, but could see no sign of the pilot, so returned to Masterton. They had seen that there was a person and a motorcycle on the ground by the wreckage: this was the farmer whose property was being topdressed, and who had been working on the eastern side of the valley being sown. While the aeroplane was on its last run, the farmer saw an object fall from it and “flutter” to the ground. He was unable to tell what the object was, but thought at first that it may have been a superphosphate bag by the way it fell. Two fencing contractors were working near the farmer’s position; they also saw an object fall from the aeroplane, and shortly afterwards one remarked to the other that the aeroplane “had no tail”. They watched the aeroplane climb and “veer to the left” before striking the ground near the top of the ridge at the southern end of the valley. It caught fire on impact. The farmer, although he did not see the impact because of intervening terrain, realised something was amiss and quickly moved to a position where he could see the accident site. He then drove his four-wheel motorcycle to the site; he estimated that this took about three minutes. On arrival, he found the centre section of the aircraft well ablaze; he could see no sign of the pilot at this stage, despite being able to get as close as the left wingtip. He reported that there were a number of explosions while the fire was burning, and that once the fire had subsided, he saw the pilot’s body in the wreckage. The impact (but not the falling object) was also witnessed by another farmer on the ridge to the western side of the valley. He estimated that some 10 seconds elapsed between impact and the first sign of fire, and had expected to see the pilot jump clear. The falling object was later found to be the tail fin (vertical stabiliser); it had landed in a clearing in a small patch of bush near where the fencers had been working, 870 m from the point where the aircraft struck the ground. The accident occurred in daylight, at 1013 hours NZST, 12 km south-south-east of Masterton, at an elevation of 1240 feet. Grid reference 260-T26-370116, latitude S 41° 04.36', longitude E 175° 42.05'.
Probable cause:
Conclusions:
- The pilot was appropriately licensed, experienced and fit to carry out the series of flights.
- The aeroplane had been operating normally up to the time of the accident.
- An undetected fatigue crack, or series of cracks, had been propagating in the forward area of the tail fin for some time.
- The cracks developed to a point where the remaining structure was unable to accommodate normal flight loads, and the fin separated from the aircraft.
- The departure of the fin probably resulted in some uncommanded yawing and pitching effects, with accompanying control feedback and unusual sounds.
- The rudder became lodged in the tailplane upper surface as the fin departed, with the potential to restrict elevator control.
- The extent and duration of any elevator control restriction could not be determined.
- The resultant impact with terrain may have been an attempt by the pilot to carry out an immediate forced landing, or may have been a result of limited control available to the pilot.
- The impact and subsequent fire were not survivable.
- The fatigue cracking in the fin originated from cuts in the skin, made when the leading-edge abrasion strip was being trimmed in situ.
- It was not determined when and by whom the cuts were made, however, measures have been taken to prevent a recurrence.
Final Report:

Crash of a Fletcher FU24-950M in Whitemans Valley: 1 killed

Date & Time: Dec 8, 1982 at 1906 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-BPZ
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Site:
MSN:
70
YOM:
1960
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
The pilot, sole on board, was completing a sowing lime mission on a hillside located in the Whitemans Valley, south of Upper Hutt. While turning in the valley to position for another sowing run, the single engine aircraft's left wing and undercarriage struck a small ridge. The plane then collided with a fence, cartwheeled, and dived into the ground. The pilot was killed.

Ground accident of a De Havilland DH.104 Devon in Wellington

Date & Time: Mar 31, 1980
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
NZ1820
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
04411
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
While taxiing, the crew encountered technical problems with the braking systems. The captain decided to raise the landing gear when the aircraft sank on its belly and came to a halt. Both occupants were uninjured.

Crash of a Fletcher FU-24-950M near Carterton: 1 killed

Date & Time: Dec 5, 1979
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-CRX
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Carterton - Carterton
MSN:
123
YOM:
1966
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
Crashed in unknown circumstances in a field located few km north of Carterton while completing a local crop spraying mission. The pilot, sole on board, was killed.

Crash of a Cessna 207 Skywagon in Castlepoint Station

Date & Time: May 26, 1975
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-DFD
MSN:
207-0188
YOM:
1970
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
0
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
Crashed in unknown circumstances. Occupant's fate unknown.

Crash of a Douglas C-47B-25-DK in Paraparaumu

Date & Time: Nov 6, 1970
Registration:
ZK-AXS
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Paraparaumu - Paraparaumu
MSN:
15995/32743
YOM:
1945
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
During the takeoff roll at Paraparaumu Airport, the airplane deviated from the centerline to the right, causing the right main gear to be torn off while hitting the shoulder. The airplane went off runway and came to rest. Both pilots were unhurt while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
Probable cause:
Captain's omission to abort the simulated takeoff in time. The following factors were considered as contributing:
- High ground speed,
- Overheated brakes.

Crash of a De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver in Mauriceville

Date & Time: Feb 8, 1966
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-CGW
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
1547
YOM:
1964
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The tailwheel broke off while the airplane was taking off from Mauriceville. It went out of control and crashed. The pilot was injured and the airplane was written off.
Probable cause:
Loss of control during takeoff following the tailwheel failure.

Crash of a Fletcher FU-24 in Bideford

Date & Time: Jan 25, 1966
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-BIJ
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
37
YOM:
1957
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
Crashed in unknown circumstances in Bideford. The pilot was injured and the aircraft was written off.