ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 568
Last updated: 19 December 2014
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Date:05-JAN-1997
Time:17:35 ESuT
Type:LET L-13 Blaník
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: VH-GVS
C/n / msn: 174818
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:1
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:2 km NW Tocumwal, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Training
Departure airport:Tocumwal, NSW (YTOC)
Destination airport:Tocumwal, NSW (YTOC)
Narrative:
Written off 5/1/1997; destroyed in a collision with Schleicher ASW-24 glider VH-GKT, near Tocumwal, NSW. According to the summary of the official ATSB report into the incident:

"The pilot of VH-GKT was of Swiss nationality and he had arrived in Australia from Switzerland 4 days prior to the accident. He had been in Tocumwal for 3 days and he had attended an orientation and procedures briefing at the club on the morning of the first day. He was an experienced glider pilot and had flown two short check flights in a dual-control glider with a senior club instructor. No details of these flights were available, as the instructor who carried out the checks was the pilot in command of VH-GVS involved in the mid-air collision, and was fatally injured.

On the day before the accident, the foreign pilot flew a single-seat glider for a period of nearly 6 hours, after launching at approximately 1200 Eastern Summer Time ( EsuT). He stayed in accommodation at the airfield and attended a social function that evening but did not discuss his flights in detail with the gliding club staff who believed that he had flown in the local general area.

On the day of the accident, the pilot was launched in VH-GKT by aerotow at about 11:15. The aircraft was the same high performance single-seat glider that he had flown the previous day. He had not submitted a task declaration and club staff believed he was again intending to operate locally. Nothing was heard from the pilot of VH-GKT throughout the day. The weather at the time was clear, no cloud below 10,000 ft and wind about 6-10 kts from the north with visibility greater than 15 km.

At about 1725 ESuT, VH-GVS, a tandem two-seat glider, was launched by aerotow from runway 36. The front seat was occupied by an inexperienced pilot receiving refresher training from the club's senior instructor, located in the rear seat. The aircraft released from the tug at about 2,300 ft AGL and was seen to begin normal slow-speed manoeuvring in the upwind position, north-west of the field. It had been released for only about 2 or 3 minutes before the collision with VH-GKT

VH-GKT was observed to approach the circuit at high speed from the north-west by an eye witness located at the launch area near the end of the runway. At about 2 km from the airfield, the glider was observed to pull up rapidly and impact VH-GVS.

The nose of VH-GKT initially contacted the leading edge of the left wing of VH-GVS from the left front quarter at an angle of about 55-60 degrees while banked about 15 degrees right. VH-GVS was in slightly descending flight and probably banked slightly left. The nose of VH-GKT then penetrated the centre section of VH-GVS just behind the rear cockpit.

The collision destroyed the cockpit of VH-GKT, severely damaged the left wing, and wing attachment points, at the centre section, allowing the broken left wing and complete right wing to detach from the aircraft. The T-tail was broken off at the end of the tail-boom and the fuselage continued through the centre section of the other glider. The fuselage section of VH-GKT continued in the direction of flight until it impacted the ground several hundred metres from the collision point. The pilot received fatal injuries.

The outer half of the damaged left wing of VH-GVS detached from the airframe. The relatively undamaged right wing (still loosely attached to the airframe) rotated around the destroyed centre section, until it was upside down on the left side of the fuselage, as the aircraft descended in a flat spin.

The initial impact of the left wing of VH-GKT destroyed the canopy of VH-GVS, and the damage to the centre section and seat harness attachment points caused the rear seat occupant to fall from the aircraft. Both occupants of VH-GVS received fatal injuries, either at the point of collision or the subsequent ground impact

Sources:
1. http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/1997/aair/aair199700049.aspx
2. http://www.planetrace.co.uk/1990-1999_32.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Jan-2008 10:00 ASN archive Added
01-May-2014 23:12 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Total occupants, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
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