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Narrative:The pilot hired the de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth aircraft, registered VH-AJG, to undertake a local pleasure flight with a friend. The aircraft took off from a grassed area parallel to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base Williamtown's main runway between the eastern end of the runway and taxiway `A'. During the takeoff, the aircraft was observed to veer right and strike and destroy two taxiway lights with the right wheel. The pilot continued the takeoff and the aircraft departed the Williamtown circuit area at 1428 Eastern Summer Time.
de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth
|C/n / msn:|| DHA382|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||2 km SW Williamtown, Aero., NSW -
|Phase:|| En route|
|Departure airport:||Williamtown, NSW|
Based on witness reports and radio transmissions by the pilot, the aircraft initially conducted a sightseeing flight over the coastal suburbs of Newcastle City. About 20 minutes after takeoff, the pilot broadcast that he was transiting north through the Williamtown Mandatory Broadcast Zone west of the coast. The aircraft subsequently joined the Williamtown circuit from the north at 1519.
The actual flight profile and manoeuvres conducted during the flight are not known. Shortly after joining the circuit, the aircraft was observed to depart level flight and impact the ground approximately 2 km southwest of the Williamtown airport. Both occupants were fatally injured and there was no evidence of fire in flight or after the impact.
A helicopter with an instructor and student on board was in the circuit area, about 1.5 km behind the Tiger Moth. The helicopter was about 800 ft above ground level and maintaining approximately 60 kts. The helicopter crew estimated that the Tiger Moth was flying at the same speed and altitude. The helicopter's pilots reported observing the left wings fold up, the aircraft rotate and fall almost vertically in a steep nose-down attitude rotating only a couple of times before impacting the ground.
A witness on the ground reported observing the aircraft's right wings fold back, followed by the aircraft spinning or spiralling to the ground. Another witness reported seeing the right wings folding up, making the wings into an `L' shape and about a metre long silver pole flying up from the cockpit area. The aircraft then started turning to the right. None of the witnesses reported observing the aircraft changing altitude or commencing a turn prior to the loss of control.
Safety recommendation R20030027 issued 26 February 2003 by ATSB to CASA
||Dr. John Smith
||Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Total occupants, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]|