Country
code

Northern Territory

Crash of an Embraer EMB-120ER Brasília in Darwin: 2 killed

Date & Time: Mar 22, 2010 at 1009 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-ANB
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Darwin - Darwin
MSN:
120-116
YOM:
1988
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
8217
Captain / Total hours on type:
3749.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
5664
Copilot / Total hours on type:
3085
Aircraft flight hours:
32799
Aircraft flight cycles:
33700
Circumstances:
Aircraft crashed moments after takeoff from runway 29 at Darwin Airport, Northern Territory, fatally injuring both pilots. The flight was for the purpose of revalidating the command instrument rating of the pilot under check and was under the command of a training and checking captain, who occupied the copilot’s seat. The takeoff included a simulated engine failure. Data from the aircraft’s flight recorders was used to establish the circumstances leading to the accident and showed that the pilot in command (PIC) retarded the left power lever to flight idle to simulate an engine failure. That introduced a simulated failure of the left engine and propeller autofeathering system. The increased drag from the ‘windmilling’ propeller increased the control forces required to maintain the aircraft’s flightpath. The pilot under check allowed the speed to decrease and the aircraft to bank toward the inoperative engine. Additionally, he increased power on the right engine, and engaged the yaw damper in an attempt to stabilize the aircraft’s flight. Those actions increased his workload and made control of the aircraft more difficult. The PIC did not restore power to the left engine to discontinue the manoeuvre. The few seconds available before the aircraft became uncontrollable were insufficient to allow ‘trouble shooting’ and deliberation before resolving the situation.
Probable cause:
• The pilot in command initiated a simulated left engine failure just after becoming airborne and at a speed that did not allow adequate margin for error.
• The pilot in command simulated a failure of the left engine by selecting flight idle instead of zero thrust, thereby simulating a simultaneous failure of the left engine and its propeller autofeather system, instead of a failure of the engine alone.
• The pilot under check operated the aircraft at a speed and attitude (bank angle) that when uncorrected, resulted in a loss of control.
• The pilot under check increased his workload by increasing torque on the right engine and selecting the yaw damper.
• The pilot in command probably became preoccupied and did not abandon the simulated engine failure after the heading and speed tolerance for the manoeuvre were exceeded and before control of the aircraft was lost.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain in Darwin

Date & Time: Feb 6, 2009 at 0840 LT
Operator:
Registration:
VH-TFX
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Darwin-Maningrida
MSN:
31-8152143
YOM:
1981
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
5
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:

Shortly after take off, engine problem forced the pilot to return to the airport but the aircraft crashed 200 meters off shore. All occupants were rescued but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.

Crash of a Gippsland GA8 Airvan in Cooinda

Date & Time: Sep 9, 2008 at 1500 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-KNE
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Cooinda-Cooinda
MSN:
GA8-05-128
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:

Shortly after take off, the engine failed. The pilot made a safe landing in the bush but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. The pilot who was conducting a test flight after maintenance was injured.

Crash of a Piper PA-60 Aerostar (Ted Smith 600) near Port Keats: 1 killed

Date & Time: Sep 2, 2000 at 2125 LT
Operator:
Registration:
VH-IXG
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Port Keats – Darwin
MSN:
60-0567-7961185
YOM:
1979
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
15000
Captain / Total hours on type:
122.00
Circumstances:
The pilot had submitted a flight plan nominating a charter category, single pilot, Instrument Flight Rules flight, from Darwin to Port Keats and return. The Piper Aerostar 600A aircraft, with 6 Passengers on board, departed Darwin at 2014 Central Standard Time and arrived at Port Keats at 2106 hours after an uneventful flight. The passengers disembarked at Port Keats and the pilot prepared to return to Darwin alone. At 2119 hours the pilot reported taxying for runway 34 to Brisbane Flight Service. That was the last radio contact with the aircraft. Witnesses noted nothing unusual as the aircraft taxied and then took off from runway 34. As a departure report was not received, a distress phase was declared and subsequently a search was instigated. The following morning a number of major structural components of the aircraft, including the outer left wing, were located at a position 24 km north-east of Port Keats aerodrome and close to the aircraft's flight planned track. The main portion of wreckage was found four days later, destroyed by ground impact. The impact crater was located a considerable distance from the previously located structural components and indicated that an inflight breakup had occurred. The accident was not survivable.
Probable cause:
Shortly after departure from Port Keats aerodrome, the pilot lost control of the aircraft for reasons unknown. Aerodynamic loading of the left wing in excess of the ultimate load limit occurred, resulting in an inflight breakup of the airframe. The investigation was unable to determine the circumstances that led to the loss of control and subsequent inflight break-up of the aircraft.
Final Report:

Crash of an IAI-1124 Westwind in Alice Springs: 3 killed

Date & Time: Apr 27, 1995 at 1957 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-AJS
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Darwin – Katherine – Alice Springs – Adélaïde – Sydney
MSN:
221
YOM:
1978
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
10108
Captain / Total hours on type:
2530.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
3747
Copilot / Total hours on type:
85
Aircraft flight hours:
11508
Circumstances:
The aircraft was on a scheduled freight service from Darwin via Tindal, Alice Springs, and Adelaide to Sydney under the IFR. The flight from Darwin to Tindal was apparently normal, and the aircraft departed Tindal slightly ahead of schedule at 1834 CST. The pilot in command occupied the left cockpit seat. At 1925, the aircraft reported at position DOLPI (200 miles north of Alice Springs) Flight Level 330, to Melbourne Control. Another Westwind aircraft was en route Darwin–Alice Springs and was more than 40 miles ahead of VH-AJS. Information from the aircraft cockpit voice recording confirmed that the pilot in command was flying the aircraft. At about 1929, he began issuing instructions to the co-pilot to program the aircraft navigation system in preparation for a locator/NDB approach to Alice Springs. The pilot in command asked the co-pilot to enter an offset position into the area navigation (RNAV) system for an 11-mile final for runway 12. The co-pilot entered the bearing as 292 degrees Alice Springs. (This was the outbound bearing from Alice Springs NDB to Simpson’s Gap locator indicated on the locator/NDB approach chart.) The pilot in command stated that he had wanted the bearing with respect to the runway, 296 degrees, entered but said that the setting could be left as 292 degrees. He then instructed the co-pilot to set Alice Springs NDB frequency on ADF 1, Simpson’s Gap locator on ADF 2, and to preset the Temple Bar locator frequency on ADF 2 so that it could be selected as soon as the aircraft passed overhead Simpson’s Gap. He indicated his intention to descend to 4,300 feet until overhead Simpson’s Gap, and said that the co-pilot should then set 3,450 feet on the altitude alert selector. On passing Temple Bar, the co-pilot was to set 2,780 feet on the altitude alert selector which the pilot in command said would be used as the minimum for the approach. At 1940, the co-pilot contacted Adelaide Flight Service (FIS) and was given the Alice Springs weather, including the local QNH. At 1945, he advised Adelaide FIS that the aircraft was leaving Flight Level 330 on descent. At about 30 miles from Alice Springs, the pilot in command turned the aircraft right to track for the offset RNAV position 292 degrees/11 miles Alice Springs. The crew set local QNH passing 16,000 feet and then completed the remaining transition altitude checks. These included selecting landing and taxi lights on. At 1949, the co-pilot advised Adelaide FIS that the aircraft was transferring frequency to the Alice Springs MTAF. At 1953, the aircraft passed Simpson’s Gap at about 4,300 feet and the copilot set 3,500 feet in the altitude alert selector. About 15 seconds later, the pilot in command told the co-pilot that, after the aircraft passed overhead the next locator, he was to set the ‘minima’ in the altitude alert selector. At 1954 , the pilot in command called that the aircraft was at 3,500 feet. A few seconds later, the co-pilot indicated that the aircraft was over the Temple Bar locator and that they could descend to 2,300 feet. The pilot in command repeated the 2,300 feet called by the co-pilot and asked him to select the landing gear down. The crew then completed the pre-landing checks. Eleven seconds later, the co-pilot reported that the aircraft was 300 feet above the minimum descent altitude. This was confirmed by the pilot in command. About 10 seconds later, there were two calls by the co-pilot to pull up. Immediately after the second call, the aircraft struck the top of the Ilparpa Range (approximately 9 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs Airport), while heading about 105 degrees at an altitude of about 2,250 feet in a very shallow climb. At approximately 1950, witnesses in a housing estate on the north-western side of the Ilparpa Range observed aircraft lights approaching from the north-west. They described the lights as appearing significantly lower than those of other aircraft they had observed approaching Alice Springs from the same direction. The lights illuminated buildings as the aircraft passed overhead and then they illuminated the northern escarpment of the range. This was followed almost immediately by fire/explosion at the top of the range.
Probable cause:
The following factors were considered significant in the accident sequence:
1. There were difficulties in the cockpit relationship between the pilot in command and the co-pilot.
2. The level of crew resource management demonstrated by both crew members during the flight was low.
3. The Alice Springs locator/NDB approach was unique.
4. The briefing for the approach conducted by the pilot in command was not adequate.
5. When asked for the ‘minima’ by the pilot in command, the co-pilot called, and the pilot in command accepted, an incorrect minimum altitude for the aircraft category and for the segment of the approach.
6. The technique employed by the pilot in command in flying the approach involved a high cockpit workload.
7. The crew did not use the radio altimeter during the approach.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 207A Stationair 7 near Jabiru

Date & Time: Jan 7, 1991 at 1523 LT
Operator:
Registration:
VH-MNN
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Jabiru - Jabiru
MSN:
207-0439
YOM:
1978
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
6
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The aircraft was nearing the completion of a scenic flight, maintaining about 800 feet above ground level, when the engine power reduced to 20 inches hg manifold pressure. The engine continued to run smoothly but failed to respond when the pilot advanced the throttle. All other means attempted by the pilot to restore the lost power were unsuccessful. The aircraft, which had a full compliment of persons on board, was too heavy to maintain height under these conditions. As it was flying over forest the pilot turned the aircraft towards the south-west where a more favourable open area, with a road and an airstrip, was available. This entailed having to cross an escarpment, but due to the aircraft's rate of descent insufficient height remained, committing the pilot to a forced landing in an unsuitable area. The pilot transmitted a distress call, gave the passengers a thorough briefing and prepared the aircraft for the forced landing. The aircraft was slowed down and allowed to sink slowly into the forest, contacting the first tree about seven metres above ground level. It then continued through the trees for 40 metres before coming to rest inverted on the forest floor. All passengers evacuated from the aircraft and were rescued by a helicopter which had responded to the distress call.
Probable cause:
Inspection of the engine determined that it was capable of developing full power at the time of the accident. The throttle cable was found to have separated from the cast bronze throttle control lever at the fuel/air metering unit on the intake manifold. The serrated steel bush in the throttle control lever at the cable attachment had become loose, causing the hole to wear elongated which reduced the edge distance from the hole to the end of the control lever sufficiently for it to fail when the throttle was opened. This probably occurred during the last takeoff. During flight, the bush, which was still attached to the cable ball end by the bolt, was probably in such a position as to operate the lever when the throttle control was moved to reduce power for climb and cruise. As the flight progressed and the cable separated from the lever, in-flight movement and vibration would have moved the throttle towards the closed position, with the subsequent reduction in power. Further inspection found that the assembly of the cable to the lever was incorrect, with the washer from under the bolt head being omitted. This reduced the bearing area at the bolt head to the control lever, with the possibility that the bolt may have only been clamped to the bush assisting any movement of the bush in the lever. Once the steel bush started moving in the softer bronze material the rate of wear would have been rapid. The aircraft had flown 85 hours since the last periodic inspection, at which time it may have been possible to detect the first signs of wear between the bush and the control lever if information advising of this type of fault had been available.
The following factors were considered relevant to the development of the accident:
- Incorrect assembly of the washers on the control cable attachment bolt may have allowed the bush to start moving in the lever.
- The bush became loose in the control lever, with the subsequent wear elongating the hole allowing the control lever end to fail.
- The throttle control cable separated from the throttle control lever.
- The throttle closed sufficiently during flight to reduce engine power.
- The aircraft was too heavy to maintain flight.
- The aircraft was operating over an area unsuitable for a forced landing.
- Wear between the bush and the lever may have been detectable during the previous periodic inspection if advisory information had been available.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Grand Commander 680 near Katherine

Date & Time: Jan 22, 1978
Operator:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The crew was completing a drug smuggling flight and attempted to land on an abandoned airstrip located about 6 km west of Katherine. After the mishap, the crew set afire the airplane and left before being arrested by the police. On board was a load of 200,000 opium sticks for a total value of 3 millions US$.

Crash of a Beechcraft 65-80 Queen Air 80 in Alice Springs: 7 killed

Date & Time: Jan 20, 1972 at 0745 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-CMI
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Alice Springs - Ayres Rock
MSN:
LD-12
YOM:
1962
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
6
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
7
Captain / Total flying hours:
1558
Captain / Total hours on type:
55.00
Aircraft flight hours:
4017
Circumstances:
At approximately 0745 hours Central Standard Time on 20 January 1972, there was an in-flight fire in a Beech 65-80 Queen Air aircraft, registered VH-CMI, which resulted in the separation of the starboard engine and the starboard outer wing. The aircraft subsequently struck the ground some seven miles south-west of Alice Springs Airport in the Northern Territory. At the time of the accident, the aircraft was engaged in operating a charter flight for the purpose of carrying passengers, mail and freight from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock. The aircraft was destroyed by fire and impact forces and the pilot and the six passengers were killed.
Probable cause:
The probable cause of the accident was that, following an engine failure which resulted in severe vibration and a fire in the outboard rear section of the engine compartment, the integrity of the firewall and its attached exhaust ducting was lost and structure at the rear of the engine nacelle was thereby exposed to fire.
Final Report:

Crash of a Lockheed L-414-08 Hudson IVA in Tennant Creek: 6 killed

Date & Time: Sep 24, 1966 at 0915 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-AGE
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Tennant Creek - Tennant Creek
MSN:
414-6039
YOM:
1941
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
5
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Circumstances:
The aircraft had been carrying out magnetometer survey flights from the airport for several weeks. It departed at 06:30 hours local time, reaching the survey area an hour later. At 07:50 the Doppler equipment became unserviceable and a little later light rain was encountered. The survey work was abandoned and the flight returned to Tennant Creek. At 09:14 the crew radioed that they were in the circuit area. Wind was reported to be from 070° at 14 knots. The acknowledgement of this information was the last contact with the flight. A minute later, the twin engine aircraft crashed in a prairie located 2 miles west of the runway 07 threshold.The aircraft was totally destroyed and all six on board were killed, among them a child aged 11. An examination of wreckage showed that one of the duplicated aileron control chains in the pilot's control column was broken in the region of the control wheel sprocket. A link pin had failed and this pin might have subsequently jammed the assembly as the control wheel was being rotated. Control could not be taken over by the copilot, as there was no copilot on the flight. The right hand cockpit seat and rudder pedals were removed so a crew member was able to gain access to the nose area of the aircraft for the survey work.
Probable cause:
The cause of this accident was a loss of control of the aircraft, and although the evidence available does not permit the reason for the loss of control to be determined, the possibility can not be eliminated that the pilot suffered an impairment of ability and, coincidentally, was deprived temporarily of aileron control.

Crash of a Beechcraft C18S in Cresswell Downs

Date & Time: Aug 12, 1965
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-CLG
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
4213
YOM:
1942
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
Upon landing at Cresswell Downs Airstrip, the right wheel separated from its axle and rolled away. The airplane sank on its belly and slid for several yards before coming to rest. All six occupants escaped uninjured while the airplane was damaged beyond repair. Among the passengers were two additional pilots on a positioning flight.
Probable cause:
Failure of the right wheel on landing.