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Accident description
Last updated: 9 October 2015
Date:Tuesday 29 October 1991
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 707-368C
Operator:Royal Australian Air Force - RAAF
Registration: A20-103
C/n / msn: 21103/905
First flight: 1975
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:43 km (26.9 mls) S off East Sale, VIC, Australia (   Pacific Ocean)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Richmond RAAF Base, NSW (YSRI), Australia
Destination airport:Avalon Airport, VIC (AVV/YMAV), Australia
The RAAF Boeing 707 stalled and crashed into the sea. The crash was attributed to a simulation of asymmetric flight resulting in a sudden and violent departure from controlled flight.

The Board of Inquiry concluded that the instructor devised a demonstration of asymmetric flight that was 'inherently dangerous and that was certain to lead to a sudden departure from controlled flight' and that he did not appreciate this. The Board noted there were deficiencies in the acquisition and documentation of 707 operational knowledge within the RAAF combined with the absence of effective mechanisms to prevent the erosion of operational knowledge at a time when large numbers of pilots were resigning from the air force. There was no official 707 QFI conversion course and associated syllabus and no adequate QFI instructors' manual. There were deficiencies in the documented procedures and limitations pertaining to asymmetric flight in the 707 and a lack of fidelity in the RAAF 707 simulator in the flight regime in which the accident occurred, which, assuming such a requirement existed, required actual practise in flight. 'The captain acted with the best of intentions but without sufficient professional knowledge or understanding of the consequences of the situation in which he placed the aircraft,' the Board said.

Loss of control

» Scramble 150


photo of Boeing 707-368C A20-103
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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 Richmond RAAF Base, NSW to Avalon Airport, VIC as the crow flies is 751 km (469 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Boeing 707

  • 123rd loss
  • 858 built
  • 46th worst accident (at the time)
  • 52nd worst accident (currently)
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 Pacific Ocean
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  • 73rd worst accident (currently)
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