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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 31877
Last updated: 20 October 2017
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Time:20:00 EST
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA25 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-25-235 Pawnee
Owner/operator:Merah North Cotton Co (regd owner)
Registration: VH-SMP
C/n / msn: 25-2580
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Substantial
Location:4 miles NW of Wee Waa, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Agricultural Strip NW of Wee Waa, NSW
Destination airport:Agricultural Strip NW of Wee Waa, NSW
The aircraft was engaged in spraying a defoliant preparation in mature cotton crops. The pilot had flown a total of 4 hours 30 minutes in a tour of duty which began at 0600 hours EST, was interrupted at 1000 hours and began again at 1630 hours when conditions were again suitable for spraying and extended into the night.

The pilot completed the area on which he had been working and after the final spraying run, flown on an easterly heading, he began a climbing turn to the right to proceed to the next area, a paddock 1.5 miles to the south west. After switching off the work lights and while manipulating the controls in the turn, the pilot felt a momentary snag of the aileron control and he switched on the cockpit lights and looked down at the floor for possible loose objects.

After a few seconds, satisfied that all was in order, he switched off the cockpit lights and attempted to level the aircraft on a southerly heading. Almost immediately, and before he had regained outside visual reference, the aircraft struck the ground, 25 degrees nose down and 5 degrees left wing down on a heading of 120 degrees, 4 miles north west of Wee Waa, New South Wales

The undercarriage collapsed and the aircraft slewed to rest 110 feet from the point of first impact. Fire broke out immediately and the pilot, who was otherwise uninjured, suffered burns while evacuating the aircraft. The pilot was later named Ross Richard MACE, Aged 24

ATSB Conclusion: The probable cause of the accident was that the pilot, who was inexperienced in night agricultural operations, became disorientated when he lost visual reference after using the cockpit lighting.



Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
02-Apr-2014 18:32 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total occupants, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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