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Last updated: 26 May 2020
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 26 January 2017
Time:17:08
Type:Silhouette image of generic G73 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Grumman G-73 Mallard
Operator:private
Registration: VH-CQA
C/n / msn: J-35
First flight: 1948
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Swan River, Perth, WA (   Australia)
Phase: Maneuvering (MNV)
Nature:Demonstration
Departure airport:Serpentine Airport, WA (YSEN), Australia
Destination airport:Serpentine Airport, WA (YSEN), Australia
Narrative:
A Grumman G-73 Mallard amphibian was destroyed when it impacted the water of Swan River in Perth, Australia. The pilot and his passenger suffered fatal injuries.
The aircraft was flying a display during the City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks 2017 event. It departed Serpentine Airport at 16:28 and proceeded along the coast towards Perth. A holding pattern was flown to the east of Garden Island at an altitude of approximately 1600 feet, waiting to fly a display. At 16:50 it continued flying north towards Perth in company with a Cessna Caravan amphibian.
Both aircraft conducted a series of circuits that included low-level fly-pasts of the Langley Park foreshore. After the second fly-past, the pilot of VH-CQA commenced a third circuit, while the Caravan departed the area.
As part of the third circuit, the pilot of the Mallard flew in an easterly direction, parallel with the South Perth foreshore, before commencing a left turn. This would have facilitated a third pass in a westerly direction along the Langley Park foreshore. During the left turn, the aircraft rolled left and pitched nose down, consistent with an aerodynamic stall. The aircraft collided with the water and broke up. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.

Probable Cause:

Contributing factors:
- The pilot returned the aircraft to the display area for a third pass in a manner contrary to the approved inbound procedure and which required the use of increased manoeuvring within a confined area to establish the aircraft on the display path.
- During the final positioning turn for the third pass, the aircraft aerodynamically stalled at an unrecoverable height.
- The pilot's decision to carry a passenger on a flight during the air display was contrary to the Instrument of Approval issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for this air display and increased the severity of the accident consequence.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 10 months
Accident number: AO-2017-013
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Loss of control

Sources:
» The Courier Mail, 26-1-2017
» Flightradar24
» ATSB


Follow-up / safety actions

ATSB issued 1 Safety Recommendation

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Photos

photo of Grumman-G-73-Mallard-VH-CQA
accident date: 26-01-2017
type: Grumman G-73 Mallard
registration: VH-CQA
photo of Grumman-G-73-Mallard-VH-CQA
accident date: 26-01-2017
type: Grumman G-73 Mallard
registration: VH-CQA
photo of Grumman-G-73-Mallard-VH-CQA
photo of Grumman-G-73-Mallard-VH-CQA
photo of Grumman-G-73-Mallard-VH-CQA
accident date: 26-01-2017
type: Grumman G-73 Mallard
registration: VH-CQA
photo of Grumman-G-73-Mallard-VH-CQA
accident date: 26-01-2017
type: Grumman G-73 Mallard
registration: VH-CQA
 

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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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