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Last updated: 22 March 2019
Date:Monday 22 March 2010
Type:Silhouette image of generic E120 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia
Registration: VH-ANB
C/n / msn: 120116
First flight: 1988
Total airframe hrs:32799
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW118A
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Darwin Airport, NT (DRW) (   Australia)
Crash site elevation: 31 m (102 feet) amsl
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Departure airport:Darwin Airport, NT (DRW/YPDN), Australia
Destination airport:Darwin Airport, NT (DRW/YPDN), Australia
An Embraer 120ER Brasilia turboprop plane, registered VH-ANB, was destroyed in a takeoff accident at Darwin Airport, NT (DRW), Australia. Both pilots were killed.
The EMB-120 prepared to take off from the taxiway E2 intersection of runway 29. The flight was a training flight to revalidate the captain's command instrument rating. The supervisory pilot/training captain advised the aerodrome controller that the departure would incorporate asymmetric flight (a simulated engine failure), and was approved by the controller to perform the manoeuvre.
Witnesses reported that the takeoff appeared 'normal' until a few moments after becoming airborne, when the aircraft rolled and diverged left from its takeoff path. They watched as the aircraft continued rolling left, and entered a steep nose-down attitude. The airplane impacted the ground in a right wing-low, nose-down attitude of about 65 degrees. A high intensity, fuel-fed fire that followed the collision with the ground destroyed most of the fuselage and cabin and right wing.

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.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 11 months
Accident number: AO-2010-019
Download report: Final report

Loss of control

» Two pilots killed in Darwin plane crash (Nationwide News, 22-3-2010)
» ATSB Report AO-2010-019


photo of Embraer 120ER Brasilia VH-ANB
photo of Embraer 120ER Brasilia VH-ANB
photo of Embraer 120ER Brasilia VH-ANB
photo of Embraer 120ER Brasilia VH-ANB
photo of Embraer 120ER Brasilia VH-ANB
photo of Embraer 120ER Brasilia VH-ANB
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photo of Embraer 120ER Brasilia VH-ANB
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Aircraft history
date registration operator remarks
DEC 1988 PT-SNE Embraer manufactured
14 MAR 1989 G-EXEL Air Exel delivered
23 MAR 1990 G-EXEL CSE Air leased
JUL 1990 G-EXEL Air Exel returned from lease
01 AUG 1990 G-EXEL Luxair leased
AUG 1991 G-EXEL Air Exel returned from lease
1993 converted from EMB-120RT to EMB-120ER
JUN 1993 VH-XFX Flight West Airlines bought
23 APR 2001 VH-XFX Flight West Airlines Suffered a loss of engine power during cruise flight; engine shut down and prop feathered. Retured to Brisbane. The hydro-mechanical unit (HMU) on the right engine had malfunctioned and was replaced.
JUN 2001 VH-XFX Flight West Airlines withdrawn from use; stored
JUL 2002 VH-XFX Capiteq Ltd bought
JUL 2002 VH-XFX Airnorth leased
31 JAN 2003 VH-ANB Airnorth new registration
10 JUL 2003 VH-ANB Airnorth * Landing gear hydraulic leak at Dili-Comoro Airport (DIL/WPDL)
23 FEB 2004 VH-ANB Airnorth * Suffered birstrike at Kununurra Airport, WA (KNX/YPKU)
29 MAR 2004 VH-ANB Airnorth * Suffered birstrike at Darwin Airport, NT (DRW/YPDN)
08 APR 2004 VH-ANB Airnorth * Gear-unsafe indication at Darwin Airport, NT (DRW/YPDN)
22 JUN 2004 VH-ANB Airnorth * Suffered birstrike at Gove-Nhulunbuy Airport, NT (GOV/YPGV)
25 JUN 2004 VH-ANB Airnorth * Engine duct leak discovered at Darwin Airport, NT (DRW/YPDN)
20 DEC 2004 VH-ANB Airnorth * GPWS warning near Kununurra Airport, WA (KNX/YPKU)
08 MAR 2005 VH-ANB Airnorth * Suffered lightning strike near Pine Creek
18 JUN 2005 VH-ANB Airnorth * Suffered birstrike on landing at Darwin Airport, NT (DRW/YPDN)
[*] = Minor occurrences reported to ATSB


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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