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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 61079
Last updated: 18 June 2020
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Date:25-JAN-1981
Time:19:42
Type:Silhouette image of generic J1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Auster J/1B Aiglet
Owner/operator:Mr E.E. Cuttance
Registration: ZK-AWI
C/n / msn: 2620
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Taieri Aerodrome, Otago -   New Zealand
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Taeri Aerodrome, NZTI
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Pilot Edward Cuttance and 3 passengers.
R.I.P.
The Auster took off from Taeri to return to the owner's airstrip a few miles away.
Before leaving the vicinity of the aerodrome the pilot made a fast, low level run across the field at a speed estimated to be about 140 m.p.h.

As the aircraft passed near to onlookers a sharp noise was heard by those on the ground and an object fell away from the aircraft. The plane was seen to shudder, and rippling was observed in the fabric covering on the underside of the left wing.
The Auster then pitched up and rolled to the left before diving into the ground. The aircraft was wrecked by the severe impact and after a few moments fuel from the ruptured tanks ignited and the machine was engulfed in flames . A determined effort was made by witnesses to save the occupants by fighting the fire with hand-held extinguishers, and one of the witnesses was seriously burned in the attempt.
This effort was unsuccessful however, and the flames were finally suppressed when a fire fighting vehicle arrived at the scene some 10 minutes after the accident.

The pilot and his three passengers are believed to have been killed in the impact with the ground.

The accident investigators found no evidence of pre-impact failure of the airframe. The engine was heard to be developing full power right up until the crash.

A small debris trail consisting of pieces of doped fabric and fragments of a plastic inspection opening reinforcing ring was found on the aerodrome.

It is believed that a rip-off inspection panel on the lower surface of the left wing was dislodged during the high speed run, allowing the airflow to enter the wing and distort the shape of the wing's aerofoil section, leading to a loss of control.

Sources:

http://archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewEntity.do?code=7333
Aircraft Accident Report No. 81-013


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
30-May-2011 22:35 angels one five Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
31-May-2011 18:18 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
26-Jan-2014 09:13 angels one five Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Departure airport, Narrative]
27-Sep-2017 21:03 TB Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
27-Nov-2019 23:31 angels one five Updated [Narrative]

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