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Marlborough District Council

Crash of a Fokker F27 in Blenheim

Date & Time: Feb 27, 2003 at 1950 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-NAN
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Blenheim-Blenheim
MSN:
10365
YOM:
1968
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
While performing a training flight, the crew simulated a gear problem and extended the gear with the emergency system. After landing, the main gear partially collapsed and the aircraft suffered major damage. The crew did not select the main gear handle down system and did not install the gear locking pins.

Crash of a Cessna 208A Caravan I in Picton: 5 killed

Date & Time: Jan 29, 1996 at 1627 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-SFA
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Wellington - Picton
MSN:
208-0051
YOM:
1985
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
5
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
5
Captain / Total flying hours:
1937
Captain / Total hours on type:
322.00
Circumstances:
Following an uneventful flight from Wellington, the pilot started the descent to Picton-Koromiko Airport in good weather conditions. On final, at an altitude of 1,700 feet, the single engine aircraft entered clouds and struck the slope of Mt Robertson located 10 nm northeast of Blenheim. All five occupants were killed and the pilot was seriously injured.
Probable cause:
The following causal factors were reported:
- The decision by the pilot to descend beneath the cloud layer.
- Illusions, created by the conditions, producing misleading visual references.
- The pilot's misidentification of distant terrain features.
- An undetected heading error, and loss of "positional awareness".
- Insufficient forward visibility, during the later stages of the descent.
- The high speed of the aircraft.
- The decision making by the pilot: the delayed decision to descend beneath the cloud layer; continued flight into deteriorating conditions.
The following contributing factors were reported:
- The pilot's familiarity with the area, creating a false sense of security.
- Improved general weather conditions, causing the pilot to relax.
- A possible false horizon, created by a sloping cloud base.
- The absence of documented procedures to ensure pilots crossed the coast south of Rarangi.
Final Report:

Crash of a Fletcher FU-24-954 in Lake Grassmere: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jun 7, 1995 at 1100 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-EMU
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Lake Grassmere - Lake Grassmere
MSN:
274
YOM:
1980
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
4930
Captain / Total hours on type:
235.00
Circumstances:
Shortly after takeoff from a field located in Lake Grassmere, while completing the 8th sortie of the morning, the pilot lost control of the airplane that crashed on hilly terrain. The aircraft was destroyed and the pilot was killed.
Probable cause:
Pilot incapacitation was the probable cause of this accident. The incapacitation of this pilot was an unusual event, and could not have been predicted or prevented by any reasonable or effective medical screening process.
Final Report:

Crash of an Armstrong Whitworth AW.650 Argosy 222 in Blenheim

Date & Time: Apr 1, 1990
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-SAF
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Christchurch – Wellington
MSN:
6801
YOM:
1965
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Aircraft flight hours:
47035
Aircraft flight cycles:
36329
Circumstances:
On final approach to Wellington Airport, the crew selected gear down but the left main gear failed to lock down. The crew decided to divert to Blenheim Airport for an emergency landing. Upon touchdown on runway 25, the left main gear collapsed and the aircraft came to rest. Both pilots escaped uninjured.
Probable cause:
The failure of the left main undercarriage to fully extend was caused by the seizure of the piston rod within the undercarriage jack assembly. The piston rod and the spring housing through which it passed had become scored, eventually resulting in the seizure. The piston rod had been installed, new, in the jack assembly some seven months earlier and had completed 787 landings. Further investigation found that the synthetic wiper ring had been installed incorrectly and would allow foreign material to find its way into the spring housing when the undercarriage was retracted. Additionally, hydraulic components on the undercarriage may have become contaminated during cleaning in an inadequately filtered cleaning booth, which was also used for general cleaning involving the use of abrasive pads.

Crash of a Britten-Norman BN-2A-21 off Tiraora Lodge

Date & Time: Mar 19, 1989 at 1635 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-SFE
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Picton - Tiraora Lodge - Wellington
MSN:
406
YOM:
1974
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
5
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
2345
Captain / Total hours on type:
28.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3166
Circumstances:
The flight was from Koromiko via Tiraora Lodge airstrip to Wellington. ZK-SFE took off from Koromiko with one pilot and five passengers at about 1620 hours. Three of the passengers were members of the pilot’s family. It was intended to make a stop at Tiraora Lodge airstrip to pick up additional passengers before proceeding to Wellington. Enroute to Tiraora Lodge, the aircraft encountered some turbulence from the westerly wind which was established aloft. The pilot flew the aircraft on a straight-in approach to Tiraora Lodge airstrip vector 26. Out on the bay wind gusts were disturbing the water but inshore the water was calm. There was no white water in the bay and the pilot assessed the surface wind speed as ten to fifteen knots. The sun was shining across the top of the ridge of hills which lay beyond the airstrip. As its azimuth was virtually the same as the runway direction the associated glare meant the pilot was unable to see the runway. However, the shadow of the ridge appeared to lie where the runway should have been so the pilot continued the landing approach expecting the aircraft would be in shadow when it was closer to the runway threshold and thus he would be able to see to make the landing. During the approach the aircraft encountered a downdraught which required the pilot to apply power to maintain the glidepath. The company’s missed approach procedure at Tiraora Lodge was to commence a level turn to the left 200 m from the threshold, the turn being sufficiently steep to be completed over the water. Thus the aircraft would not have to clear the trees, about 130 feet high, which surrounded the Lodge. The position from which the missed approach was to be commenced was not defined in terms of landmarks. The pilot elected to maintain a height of 200 feet on the approach reasoning that if he was unable to complete the landing, he would be able to turn above the trees which would therefore not be the limiting obstacle. By this stage, the aircraft’s indicated airspeed had been reduced to less than 88 knots and the pilot “toggled” the selector switch with the intention of setting landing flap (56°). When the pilot was able to see the airstrip he was abeam its lower end, to the right of the runway. The terrain ahead of him was uneven and divided by drainage ditches and deer fences. The overrun area beyond the runway precluded a safe arrival if the aircraft could not be stopped on the runway. A climb straight ahead was not possible due to the steep rise to a ridge at 2500 feet immediately beyond the end of the runway and high ground also prevented a turn to the right. However, a left turn seemed to offer an escape route as the ground in that direction rose less steeply. The pilot therefore commenced a missed approach to the left. He applied full power, selected flap towards “TAKE-OFF” and commenced a level turn. He had to descend the aircraft to keep it flying. Although the engines were delivering full power the performance of the aircraft was much less than he expected. Because he had been having problems with the flap actuation and indication system the pilot thought the flaps might not have retracted from the “LANDING” flap position to the “TAKE-OFF’’ position properly. On recollection, after the accident, he thought he may not have selected “LANDING” flap correctly during the approach and when he selected “TAKE-OFF” on the go-around the flaps travelled from “TAKE-OFF” to the 6° down position. Although he believed the flap position indicator to be unserviceable he did not check the position of the flaps themselves visually after either selection. Witnesses on the ground commented that the aircraft seemed to be affected by turbulence on the approach, was flying very slowly as it came level with the runway threshold and that it banked steeply when it commenced its turn. Although the pilot could not recollect hearing the stall warning horn, the passengers said that it came on and sounded continuously. During the missed approach the aircraft collided with a telephone line. When the pilot felt the drag of the telephone wire, he closed the throttles. Then, when he found the aircraft was still flying, he applied full power but the aircraft pitched nose up so he reduced the power again. The aircraft descended into the water at an angle of about 25° and then floated briefly on the surface of the bay. Although the pilot had attempted to flare the aircraft it was in a nose-down attitude on impact. All of the passengers escaped or were assisted from the aircraft and taken ashore to the Lodge for first aid and dry clothes. The accident took place in daylight at about 1635 hours NZST. The accident site was Northwest Bay, Pelorus Sound.
Probable cause:
The probable cause of this accident was the pilot’s decision to continue to fly the aircraft, at 200 feet amsl, past the point from which a missed approach could be successfully achieved, when he was unable to see the position of the runway, its threshold or the windsock.
Other contributory factors were:
- The pilot’s unfamiliarity with the Tiraora Lodge Airstrip,
- The pilot’s inadequate training in strip operation and on the aircraft type,
- The pilot’s failure to check the position of the aircraft’s flaps, visually, during the missed approach procedure when he believed the flap position indicator to be unreliable,
- The pilot’s unfamiliarity with the aircraft’s flap operating system,
- The lack of a suitable wind measuring device or other information on the local winds in the area and the presence of a substantial downflow in the area of the attempted missed approach,
- Obstructions within the obstruction free area prescribed for approved landing grounds,
- The absence of supervision of the airline by the regulatory authority.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 207 Stationair 7 in Picton: 7 killed

Date & Time: Jan 2, 1986
Registration:
ZK-WED
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
207-0009
YOM:
1969
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
6
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
7
Circumstances:
After takeoff from Picton-Koromiko Airport, while climbing, the engine lost power. The pilot elected to return and initiated a downwind circuit when the engine failed completely. The aircraft stalled and crashed in a field, bursting into flames. All seven occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
Engine failure for unknown reasons.

Crash of a Cessna 402 in New Zealand: 8 killed

Date & Time: Oct 4, 1985 at 1223 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-EHT
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Nelson - Wellington
MSN:
402B-0340
YOM:
1973
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
8
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
8
Circumstances:
While cruising in good weather conditions on a flight from Nelson to Wellington, the pilot failed to realize his altitude was insufficient when the twin engine airplane struck power cables and crashed in the Tory Channel. A passenger was rescued while eight other occupants were killed.

Crash of a Bristol 170 Freighter 31E in Blenheim

Date & Time: Jan 14, 1981
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-CAM
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
13155
YOM:
1953
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
Upon landing at Blenheim-Woodbourne Airport, the right main gear collapsed. The airplane slid for few dozen yards before coming to rest. All four occupants escaped uninjured while the aircraft was written off.
Probable cause:
Fatigue crack in landing gear centre fitting.

Crash of a Douglas DC-3F in Seddon: 1 killed

Date & Time: Feb 23, 1973 at 1555 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
ZK-AOI
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Blenheim - Blenheim
MSN:
16966/34226
YOM:
1945
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Aircraft flight hours:
24261
Circumstances:
While completing a crop spraying flight, the pilot lost control of the airplane after the right wing detached in flight. The aircraft crashed in an open field and was destroyed. The pilot, sole on board, was killed.
Probable cause:
The accident was caused by in-flight separation of the starboard wing due to a loss of structural strength brought about by extensive fatigue cracks in the lower centre wing wraparound and internal doublers inboard of Sta. 142, initiation and propagation to failure of the RH wing cracks being due to consistent overstress.

Crash of a Bristol 170 Freighter 31M near Blenheim: 5 killed

Date & Time: May 27, 1953 at 0859 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
NZ5908
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Woodbourne - Whenuapai
MSN:
13061
YOM:
1952
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
5
Circumstances:
Shortly after takeoff from runway 06 at Woodbourne AFB in Blenheim, while climbing, the pilot-in-command made a turn to right when the aircraft entered clouds. Six minutes later, the twin engine airplane hit the slope of a mountain located near Taylor Pass, about 12 km southeast of the airfield. The aircraft was destroyed and all five crew members were killed.
Crew:
Cpt Richard Webb,
F/Lt James Brookes,
F/Sgt Phillip Diebert,
Sgt John Collins,
Sgt Thomas Dean.
Probable cause:
It was determined that Captain Richard Webb who was the commanding officer at Whenuapai boarded the flight at Woodbourne. He was not a qualified pilot on the Bristol 170 but was at controls when the accident occurred. It was established that he was seating in the left hand seat while the captain on this flight occupied the right hand seat as pilot in second. The departure was completed under IFR from runway 06 and the airplane entered clouds during the initial climb. Instead of continuing strait ahead over the Cook Strait, the airplane turned to the right over a mountainous area. Navigation instruments were not tuned to the correct beacon (Blenheim NDB), which was considered as a contributory factor.