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Accident description
Last updated: 21 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 9 April 2008
Time:23:27
Type:Silhouette image of generic SW4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III
Operator:Airtex Aviation
Registration: VH-OZA
C/n / msn: AC-600
First flight: 1984
Total airframe hrs:32339
Cycles:46710
Engines: 2 Garrett TPE331-11U-611G
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:19 km (11.9 mls) SE off Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD) (   Australia)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD/YSSY), Australia
Destination airport:Brisbane International Airport, QLD (BNE/YBBN), Australia
Narrative:
Metro III VH-OZA was cleared for takeoff from runway 16R at the Sydney-Kingsford Smith Airport, NSW (SYD). It became airborne at 23:23 and shortly afterwards the pilot had been instructed to transfer to the departures controller’s radio frequency.
On first radio contact with that controller, the pilot was advised that the aircraft was identified on radar. At 23:25:30, the controller instructed the pilot to turn left onto a heading of 090 degrees, which was acknowledged. Instead of the expected left turn, the radar returns indicated that the aircraft was turning right, towards the south-west. At 23:25:54, the controller confirmed with the pilot that he was to turn left and at 23:25:59 the pilot once again acknowledged the left turn and added "I’ve got a slight technical fault here".
No further transmissions were received from the pilot. The radar returns over the next 70 seconds showed the aircraft completed a left turn followed by a right turn before disappearing from radar. The Metro crashed into the sea.
On 12 May 2008, a significant wreckage field was identified. That wreckage was spread over an area approximately 1,200 m long and 400 m wide.

Probable Cause:

CONTRIBUTING SAFETY FACTORS:
- It was very likely that the aircraft’s alternating current electrical power system was not energised at any time during the flight.
- It was very likely that the aircraft became airborne without a functioning primary attitude reference or autopilot that, combined with the added workload of managing the ‘slight technical fault’, led to pilot spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control.

OTHER SAFETY FACTORS:
- The pilot’s Metro III endorsement training was not conducted in accordance with the operator’s approved training and checking manual, with the result that the pilot’s competence and ultimately, safety of the operation could not be assured. [Significant safety issue]
- The chief pilot was performing the duties and responsibilities of several key positions in the operator’s organisational structure, increasing the risk of omissions in the operator’s training and checking requirements.
- The conduct of the flight single-pilot increased the risk of errors of omission, such as not turning on or noticing the failure of aircraft items and systems, or complying with directions.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 1 months
Accident number: AO-2008-026
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Loss of control

Sources:
» ATSB AO-2008-026


Photos

photo of Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III VH-OZA
Flight path
photo of Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III VH-OZA
Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Sundstrand 980-4100
photo of Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III VH-OZA
Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) , Fairchild A100A
photo of Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III VH-OZA
Flight Data Recorder (FDR), during disassembly
photo of Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III VH-OZA
Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Tape assembly within crash protected enclosure
photo of Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III VH-OZA
Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) , Tape transport assembly during disassembly
photo of Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III VH-OZA
Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) after recovery
photo of Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III VH-IAW
VH-IAW was sold to Airtex in November 2002 and later re-registered VH-OZA
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Map
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 Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW to Brisbane International Airport, QLD as the crow flies is 751 km (469 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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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