Wirestrike Accident Snow Commander S-2D 600 VH-FON, 07 Dec 1975
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 213917
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Type:Silhouette image of generic SS2P model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Snow Commander S-2D 600
Registration: VH-FON
MSN: 1343D
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:9km NW of Ararat, VIC -   Australia
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Stawell, VIC
Destination airport:Stawell, VIC
Investigating agency: BASI
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot was based at Stawell and had undertaken to spray pesticide on oat crops at two properties near Ararat. The crop on the first property was 40 hectares and the second crop was in a field covering an area of 12 hectares. This field contained several large trees and was bordered at the south-east by a creek and at the south-west by trees. Beyond a fence bordering the north-eastern end there was a small clear area which sloped upwards for some 200 metres to trees and farm building situated on a ridge. A single wire power line, aligned approximately north/south, was suspended between a 12 metre pole near the farm buildings and a 10 metre pole some 288 metres to the south. The power line passed about 28 metres east of the eastern corner of the field containing the oat crop. The pilot had not previously sprayed crops in this field but he had sprayed other areas of the property.

During the evening prior to the accident, the pilot discussed by telephone the proposed operation, including the location of the crop, trees and power line, with the son of the property owner. There is some doubt, however, as to whether the pilot appreciated the precise location of the power line and its significance to the operation. On the following morning the pilot flew the aircraft from Stawell to the first property and the 40 hectare crop was sprayed without incident. The aircraft then proceeded to the second property and spraying of the 12 hectare crop was commenced at about 07:45 hours. Working progressively from the north-west across the field towards the creek, spraying runs were made alternately to the north-east and south-west.The final run was made on a north-easterly heading over and along the south-east boundary of the crop, and upon completion of this run, the aircraft commenced to climb away normally above the rising ground. When the aircraft was about 80 metres beyond the crop, the starboard undercarriage leg struck the power line 12 metres above ground level and the line was dislodged from the poles and severed. The aircraft turned slightly to the right and crashed to the ground in a starboard wing down attitude. The main wreckage came to rest in a upright position 130 metres beyond the point of power line contact and a fierce fire broke out immediately. Pilot Barry Cosson died in the crash.


1. https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/1975/aair/aair197502883/
2. https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/24620/197502883.pdf
3. www.austairdata.com
4. Janic Geelen, 1983, The Topdressers, NZ Aviation Press

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

01-Aug-2018 10:41 Pineapple Added
07-Jan-2022 22:46 Ron Averes Updated [Cn, Source, Narrative]
08-Jan-2022 00:54 Ron Averes Updated [Aircraft type]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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