Narrative:The Lodestar became airborne half way along the runway and continued to fly close to the ground as it accelerated. As the undercarriage retracted, it began to a steep climb. The climb continued to steepen and at about 250 feet, the starboard wing dropped and VH-BAG lost height. The wing was picked up, then the port wing dropped and the aircraft entered a curving descent to the left. Gradually gaining a more level attitude, it finally dropped heavily into a swamp between the airstrip and the beach, crashed and burned. It appeared that the centre of gravity was too far aft. The aircraft's load chart, issued with its Certificate of Airworthiness, contained a number of errors. In addition, the passenger seats were 25mm further apart than indicated on the chart, resulting in a rearward movement of the centre of gravity with all seats occupied. Furthermore, the load chart provided only for the aircraft's "undercarriage down" condition. Yet retracting the undercarriage moved the centre of gravity rearwards. Final calculations indicated the centre of gravity at take-off would have been between
41.8 per cent and 42.4 per cent MAC, moving to 43.4 - 43.9 per cent MAC following gear retraction. The CofG was supposed to be between 28.5 and 39 per cent.
» Flight Safety Australia, November-December 1999
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Coolangatta Airport, QLD to Brisbane International Airport, QLD as the crow flies is 94 km (59 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.