Country
code

Western Australia

Crash of a Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander off Derby

Date & Time: May 22, 1989 at 1350 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
VH-BSN
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Cockatoo Island - Derby
MSN:
3005
YOM:
1982
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The pilot had planned the direct track for the flight from Cockatoo Island to Derby at 5,500 feet above sea level. When the pilot gave his DEPARTURE call he amended his cruising level to below 5,000 feet. No further calls were received from the aircraft. The Cockatoo Island workboat was 56 kilometres north-north-west of Derby, and approximately 20 kilometres west of the direct track between Cockatoo Island and Derby. The crew of the boat observed an aircraft approaching at very low level. The aircraft passed over the boat approximately 5-7 metres above the deck, and entered a right hand turn. During the turn the right wing tip struck the water causing the aircraft to cartwheel and crash about 400 metres from the boat. The fuselage broke open on impact and the occupants were subsequently rescued by the crew of the boat.
Probable cause:
The pilot declined to provide any information which might have clarified the circumstances of the accident, however, available information indicates that he carried out an unauthorized low pass over the boat. During the turn following the low pass, he misjudged the aircraft's height and the right wing tip struck the water.
The following factors were considered relevant to the development of the accident:
- The pilot was neither trained nor authorized to conduct operations at low level,
- The pilot exercised poor judgement by operating at an unnecessarily low height,
- The pilot misjudged his height above the water.
Final Report:

Crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 Marquise in Sturt Meadows Station: 10 killed

Date & Time: Dec 16, 1988 at 1015 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
VH-BBA
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Perth – Bellevue Mine – Kalgoorlie – Leinster – Nevoria Mine
MSN:
782
YOM:
1980
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
9
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
20
Captain / Total flying hours:
6249
Captain / Total hours on type:
134.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2827
Circumstances:
The aircraft had been chartered for a return flight from Perth to Bellevue Mine, Kalgoorlie and Nevoria Mine. The aircraft departed Perth on 15 December and arrived at Bellevue Mine after an uneventful flight. The following morning the pilot telephoned Kalgoorlie Flight Service Unit (FSU) and obtained brief details of expected winds for the flight to Kalgoorlie, as well as a forecast of the weather for the aircraft's arrival. He then submitted details of the flight to the flight service officer (FSO), at the same time commenting that there was some adverse weather in the Bellevue Mine area. The flight plan indicated that the pilot intended to climb to flight level (FL) 195 after take-off, with a time interval of 27 min to pass Leonora and a further 22 min to reach Kalgoorlie. The flight plan was amended after take-off to include a brief stop at Leinster. At 0940 hours the aircraft departed for Leinster, 5 km from Bellevue Mine. (This short flight was conducted to pick up passenger baggage.) At 0957 hours the pilot reported to the Kalgoorlie FSU that the aircraft had departed Leinster at 0955 hours and was climbing to FL 195. At 1008 hours he requested traffic information for a climb to FL 210 and, after being advised that there was no traffic, replied that he was climbing to that level. He also remarked that there were some big clouds in the area. No further communications were received from the aircraft. At approximately 1015 hours the aircraft crashed on Sturt Meadows Station. The crash site was approximately 1200 ft above sea level. All 10 occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
It is probable that the pilot did not have an adequate understanding of the operations of the MU-2B-60 aircraft at high altitude. The meteorological conditions were conducive to the formation of ice on aircraft flying in cloud above the freezing level. It is probable that loss of control occurred above the freezing level on climb to an amended altitude of FL 210.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Shrike Commander 500S near Canning Dam: 2 killed

Date & Time: Feb 27, 1986 at 0807 LT
Operator:
Registration:
VH-SDO
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Jandakot - Jandakot
MSN:
500-3263
YOM:
1976
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Circumstances:
The flight was planned to check the onboard survey equipment. After departing Jandakot the aircraft operated to the south of the airfield for about 80 minutes before the pilot advised that he would be extending his operation to the east over the Darling Ranges. The aircraft was then sighted, by several witnesses, over the foothills heading in an easterly direction. These witnesses reported that the engines were not operating normally. A short time later, the aircraft was observed to pass over the dam wall at an altitude of about 25 feet and head down a valley in a northerly direction before disappearing from sight. An inspection of the wreckage indicated that the aircraft had collided with two 30 metre high trees, in a nose high attitude at a low forward airspeed, before falling to the ground below the trees. At impact neither engine was delivering power. The fuel system, which was found to be relatively intact, contained only nine litres of fuel.
Probable cause:
It was determined that the engines failed due to fuel starvation following the exhaustion of the useable fuel onboard the aircraft. The pilot was then faced with attempting a landing in unsuitable
terrain. Evidence indicates that the aircraft departed Jandakot with both the fuel quantity indicating systems unserviceable. Although the maintenance documentation for the aircraft did not indicate that these systems were unserviceable, it is believed that the pilot was aware of the maintenance state of the aircraft before departure.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31-310 Navajo in Mount Augustus

Date & Time: Jul 4, 1981
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-DEE
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Carnarvon - Mount Augustus
MSN:
31-8012072
YOM:
1980
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The twin engine airplane departed Carnarvon on an ambulance flight to Mount Augustus to evacuate a sick child. On board were one nurse and one pilot. The approach to Mount Augustus was initiated in limited visibility due to a moonless night and six vehicles were dispatched on the ground with lights on. While turning on final, the airplane was too low, struck trees and crashed. Both occupants were injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

Crash of a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne II in Perth: 1 killed

Date & Time: May 3, 1981 at 1125 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-CCW
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Jandakot - Perth
MSN:
31-7720046
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:
4279
Captain / Total hours on type:
576.00
Circumstances:
The aircraft was flown from Jandakot to Perth at approximately 08:00 hours on 3.5.81. However, the engineer who had agreed to meet the pilot sent a message that he could not attend. At times during the morning, persons observed the aircraft parked at the airport. The engine cowls had been removed and the pilot was seen to be working in the area of the propeller governors. At about 11:00 hours, the pilot started the aircraft's engines, taxied to a clear area and carried out a series of checks" at high power. Then, at 11:09 hours, he contacted Perth Surface Movement Control by radio and requested clearance for an air test at Flight Level 200. This was approved and the aircraft was instructed to taxi to Runway 20. After take-off, the aircraft turned right and tracked to the west on the 270 radial of the VHF omni-directional radio range (VOR), in accordance with departure instructions give n by Perth Tower. When asked for his intentions, the pilot advised that he wished to continue tracking to the west until further notice. Weather conditions in the Perth area were fine; there was no cloud and the surface wind was a light southwesterly. The aircraft as it climbed out appeared to be operating normally , except for a thin smoke trail which was observed coming from the right engine. At 11:19 hours, the pilot advised that his test was completed. He reported he was at 7,000 feet and 10 miles from the airport by distance measuring equipment (DME). During the next five minutes there were a series of routine exchanges between VH-CCW and Perth Tower as the aircraft was cleared to track visually, north of Perth city, to a right base position for Runway 20. During these exchanges the pilot did not indicate that any abnormality or emergency existed and his voice sounded normal. At 11:24 hours, he reported at right base and was cleared to land. The final transmission received from the aircraft was the usual acknowledgement of the landing clearance. The right base position for Runway 20 is over the suburb of Bassendean and local residents are used to aircraft overflying. However, attention was drawn to VH-CCW as it was lower than normal traffic, the engine noise was louder and smoke was trailing from its right engine. Otherwise, it appeared to be operating normally; both propellers were rotating and the landing gear was reported to be retracted. The aircraft had commenced an apparently normal right base turn when it suddenly rolled inverted. The nose of the aircraft may have pitched up just before the sudden roll. The aircraft then began to rotate and rapidly descend. At some stage, it rolled back to the normal upright attitude. After about two turns, the rotation stopped and the aircraft dropped vertically to the ground in the backyard of a private house. The left wing and tailplane struck the roof of the house just prior to ground impact. An intense fire immediately broke out and consumed most of the wreckage. Subsequent examination of the wreckage found no evidence of pre-existing defects or malfunctions, apart from loose attachment nuts on the left side of the propeller governor fitted to the right engine. Oil had leaked from the governor at this position, covering the engine and causing the smoke trail observed by witnesses. Internal inspection of the right engine established that all bearing surfaces were oil-wetted, but it could not be determined how much oil remained in the engine at the time of ground impact as any residual oil had leaked and been consumed by fire. Both engines had been operating at impact. The right engine was at a low power setting, probably idle. The left engine was at a higher power, although the exact power setting could not be determined. The left propeller was at a blade angle consistent with higher power output. The right propeller was at a blade angle outside the normal operating range but consistent with the propeller moving towards the feather position, either as a result of pilot selection or exhaustion of the engine oil supply. It was not possible to determine whether or not the pilot had initiated feathering. The stability augmentation system servo was at the maximum, elevator-down spring tension position. The automatic system would drive the servo to this position when the aircraft was flown at low airspeed. The elevator trim was set at 10 degrees nose-up, also consistent with low-speed flight. The rudder trim was at the full-left rudder position, indicating that the pilot had been operating the aircraft for some time with high power on the left engine and the right engine at a low power setting. The flaps were half extended and the landing gear was down at ground impact. Post-mortem examination found that the pilot had extensive coronary artery disease, such that he may have suffered a sudden incapacitating attack or death. Alternatively, he may have experienced severe chest pain, causing him to unintentionally apply coarse movements to the aircraft controls. The pilot had completed regular medical examinations for the renewal of his pilot's licence, but his condition had not been detected.
Probable cause:
The exact cause of the accident could not be determined with certainty. However, the following defect was discovered: two nuts attaching the propeller governor to the right engine were loose, permitting oil to leak from the governor.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31-310 Navajo Chieftain in Kalgoorlie: 4 killed

Date & Time: Apr 30, 1981 at 1844 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-KMS
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Jameson - Kalgoorlie
MSN:
31-7712056
YOM:
1977
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
4
Captain / Total flying hours:
22655
Captain / Total hours on type:
500.00
Circumstances:
The pilot acted as a relief pilot for the Eastern Goldfields Section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service based in Kalgoorlie. On 30 April 1981 he had been rostered as the duty pilot from 1100 hours to 1700 hours. He was advised by the chief pilot soon after 1100 hours that a flight to Jameson and return was required. The flight was planned to include a refuelling stop at Warburton en-route to Jameson. The pilot expressed concern that the flight might not be completed in daylight, but after discussing the problem with the chief pilot, it was concluded that the flight should return to Kalgoorlie about ten minutes before last light. The aircraft subsequently departed Kalgoorlie at 1221 hours, and the flight proceeded uneventfully. However, delays en-route and in refuelling resulted in the aircraft not departing Jameson until 1609 hours. Based on the flight plan time intervals, the expected arrival time at Kalgoorlie was 1844 hours which was an hour after last light. The pilot did not hold the necessary qualification allowing him to operate a multiengined aircraft at night, although he held such a rating for single-engined aircraft. He elected to proceed as planned, and declared the last section of the flight a Mercy Flight. At 1828 hours, when 55 km from Kalgoorlie, the pilot contacted Kalgoorlie Flight Service Unit and received details of the weather, as recorded thirty minutes earlier. This information included an observation of lightning to the west-south-west and a line of thunderstorms from north-west to south of the aerodrome. At 1840 hours, when about 13 km from Kalgoorlie he advised that he would use runway 28. No further communication was heard from the aircraft. Witnesses at Boulder, 4 km east of Kalgoorlie, subsequently reported that a severe squall entered the area shortly before the aircraft was seen turning on to final approach for the runway. The strong wind had generated dust clouds and the aircraft was seen to enter one of these, whilst executing a number of sudden attitude changes. It then collided with a mineshaft headframe. The left wing was torn from the aircraft which then crashed to the ground nearby. A passenger was seriously injured while four other occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
There is insufficient evidence available to enable the cause of this accident to be determined. It is evident however, that the aircraft encountered severe turbulence at a low height during the approach for landing. No pre-existing defect or malfunction which could have contributed to the accident was found during the examination of the wreckage.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601P) in Teutonic Bore: 1 killed

Date & Time: May 28, 1980 at 1137 LT
Operator:
Registration:
VH-KXY
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Teutonic Bore – Leonora – Perth
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
2810
Captain / Total hours on type:
149.00
Circumstances:
The aircraft was engaged on the return segment of a flight from Perth to Teutonic Bore, with an intended refuelling stop at Leonora. After embarking the two passengers and their baggage, the pilot started the engines and taxied for a take-off into the north, on the 1350 metre long main strip. The weather conditions were fine with a northerly surface wind of about 7 knots. The initial part of the take-off run was apparently normal but, after travelling some 400 metres and at about the point of rotation, one of the passengers noted an engine power surge. The take-off was continued, the aircraft became airborne and shortly afterwards the landing gear was retracted. After the aircraft had slowly climbed straight ahead to an altitude of about 200-300 feet above ground level, the passenger heard a marked change in the engine noise and felt the aircraft decelerating. The extent of the power loss and the absence of any yawing force indicated both engines had lost power simultaneously. Level flight straight ahead was reportedly maintained for an estimated 10 seconds and then the aircraft entered a descending left turn. At about this time the pilot, in response to a query from the passenger, advised that he intended to return to the airstrip but then stated "we're going down", or words to that effect. The terrain in the area was generally firm and flat. It was lightly covered with scrub and there was occasional small trees but a safe landing with only minimal damage was possible. When VH-KXY struck the ground the gear and flaps were retracted and the rate of descent was high. The aircraft was in a level attitude but yawed approximately 45 degrees to the right. After the initial impact, the aircraft slid across the ground on a track of 220 degrees magnetic for 67 metres before coming to rest. There was no post-impact fire. One passenger was able to exit via the cabin door by his own efforts. The other occupants were trapped in the wreckage and were rescued some 30 minutes later by persons who attended the accident. The pilot died shortly after being removed from the aircraft.
Probable cause:
The probable cause of the accident was that, following a substantial loss of power by both engines, the pilot did not carry out the procedures necessary for a safe forced landing. The cause of the loss of power by both engines has not been determined.
Final Report:

Crash of a Swearingen SA226TC Metro II in Esperance

Date & Time: May 13, 1980 at 0745 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-SWO
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Perth - Esperance
MSN:
TC-275
YOM:
1978
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
11
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
9010
Captain / Total hours on type:
1155.00
Circumstances:
Weather conditions at Esperance were fine; there was no cloud, visibility was in excess of 30 km and the surface wind was from the northwest at 5 to 10 knots. The aircraft entered the circuit on a left downwind leg for an approach to Runway 29. The flaps were lowered, firstly a quarter and then half-way, on the downwind leg and the landing gear was extended just before the aircraft turned onto a base leg. This configuration, and an airspeed of 133 knots (best single - engine rate of climb speed), was maintained until after the aircraft was straightened onto final approach. At an altitude of 1100 feet, the pilot considered he was at Decision Height and committed to land. He lowered full flaps and reduced the airspeed to 115 knots. At about this time, as he was retarding the power levers, the right engine flamed out. The pilot reported that he promptly sensed the engine failure and checked the engine instruments while re-opening both power levers. He noted both torque and fuel flow indication s for the right engine were zero. He briefly considered retracting the landing gear and flaps but decided to do neither. Left engine power was increased initially to the maximum available of 940°C ITT (Inter-turbine temperature) and then adjusted to the normal maximum limit of 923°C ITT. The right propeller was feathered. During this period the aircraft banked to the right and turned away from the runway. Its airspeed had reduced and the rate of descent increased. The turn had been opposed but the pilot found that the application of full left rudder and aileron would not enable him to maintain runway heading, although the airspeed was above the minimum control airspeed of 94 knots, specified in the aircraft flight manual. It was evident to the pilot that the aircraft would land short of the aerodrome, amongst trees to the right of the runway approach path. He therefore abandoned his efforts to regain the normal approach path and allowed the aircraft to turn further to the right, towards a large, clear paddock. Just before touchdown, he observed a power pole on his selected landing path and he again turned further right to avoid it. During this turn the right wing tip struck the ground. The nosegear then impacted heavily and collapsed . The aircraft slid and bounced across the ground for 188 metres before coming to rest. Fuel from ruptured line s ignite d under the left engine , but the fire was slow to develop and the occupants were able to make an orderly evacuation . By the time the fire brigade arrived from Esperance township, the fire had spread and most of the aircraft was consumed.
Probable cause:
The right engine had flamed out because of fuel starvation, when a spur gear in the fuel control drive train failed. Five teeth of the spur gear had broken off and the remaining teeth were badly worn. The failures and abnormal wear were due to looseness of the torque sensor housing, in which the spur gear was mounted, allowing the gear to move out of its correct alignment. The housing had probably loosened because of vibration, as its natural frequency was close to some frequencies generated by the engine during normal operation. The following contributing factors were reported:
- The natural frequency of the torque sensor housings in the engines fitted to VH-SWO were susceptible to vibration frequencies generated by the engines during normal operation,
- Vibration loosened the torque sensor housing on the right engine, which in turn led to misalignment of a spur gear in the fuel drive train, failure of the gear and fuel starvation
of the engine,
- The engine failed when the aircraft was being operated in a landing configuration which precluded a successful continuation of the landing approach,
- The landing procedure used by the pilot was in accordance with the operator's Company Operations Manual, which did not appreciate the poor performance and handing' difficulties of the Swearingen SA226TC in the event of an engine failure in the landing configuration.
Final Report:

Crash of a Douglas C-47A-85-DL in Broome

Date & Time: Jan 21, 1974
Operator:
Registration:
PK-GDC
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
20041
YOM:
1944
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The crew was completing a positioning flight to Broome to pick up oil rig workers to Portuguese Timor on behalf of the Burma Oil Company. The approach and landing were completed in heavy rain falls due to monsoon. After touchdown, the airplane went out of control, veered off runway and lost its undercarriage and engines before coming to rest. All three crew members escaped uninjured while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.

Crash of a Vickers 720 Viscount near Port Hedland: 26 killed

Date & Time: Dec 31, 1968 at 1135 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-RMQ
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Perth – Port Hedland
MSN:
45
YOM:
1954
Flight number:
MV1750
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
22
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
26
Captain / Total flying hours:
19129
Captain / Total hours on type:
367.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
2660
Copilot / Total hours on type:
143
Circumstances:
Flight 1750 was a scheduled domestic flight from Perth to Port Hedland in the State of Western Australia. Whilst taxiing for take-off on runway 02 at Perth Airport, the crew received and acknowledged an air traffic clearance communicated by Perth Tower. Of the alternative clearances offered, the pilot-in-command elected to proceed via the 030° radial of the Perth Very High Frequency Omni-Range (VOR), to Ballidu, whilst climbing to FL 170. Take-off was normal and the crew reported the departure time as 0836 hours Western Standard Time. At 0839 hours the pilot-in-command reported that he was climbing at an indicated airspeed of 155 kt, instead of the 175 kt proposed in the flight plan, because of turbulence which he first encountered at 1 500 ft. During this climb the co-pilot also advised Perth that the aircraft would continue its climb beyond the proposed FL 170 and cruise at FL 190. Apart from these minor changes to the flight plan the aircraft continued normally along the intended route with position reports being transmitted as scheduled to Perth Flight Service Centre, Meekatharra Flight Service Unit and Port Hedland Flight Service Centre. At 1114 hours the aircraft advised Port Hedland that it was abeam Wittenoom Gorge at FL 190 and that its estimated time of arrival at Port Hedland was 1142 hours. At 1120 hours the flight advised that it would be commencing its descent from FL 190 in three minutes and at 11-34 hours it reported that it was 30 miles by Distance Measuring Equipment south of Port Hedland-and had left 7 000 ft on descent. The flight service officer at Port Hedland acknowledged this message and transmitted the surface wind and temperature conditions and the altimeter setting for landing at Port Hedland. When this communication was not acknowledged further calls were made but no further communication from the aircraft was heard or recorded. At about the time that the aircraft failed to respond to the radio communication, two persons, each in different positions, saw the aircraft descending rapidly and steeply although these observations were made from distances of 44 and 64 miles respectively. Neither of these eyewitnesses was able to observe any impact with the ground because of intervening high terrain. At 1212 hours a Cessna 337 aircraft left Port Hedland to search along the route which the aircraft had been expected to follow and, eleven minutes later, the pilot of the search aircraft saw the burning wreckage of the Viscount aircraft, close to the intended route. Approximately one hour later a ground party from Port Hedland reached the scene of the accident. The location of the wreckage was later determined to be 28.1 miles on a bearing of 184' true from Port Hedland Airport. The aircraft was totally destroyed and none of the 26 occupants survived the crash.
Probable cause:
The cause of the accident was that the fatigue endurance of the starboard inner main spar lower boom was substantially reduced by the insertion of a flared bush at station 143 when the margin of safety associated with the retirement life specified for such booms did not ensure that this boom would achieve its retirement life in the presence of such a defect.
Final Report: