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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 62785
Last updated: 21 January 2020
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Time:c. 1705
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 172E
Owner/operator:Wellington Districts Aero Club
Registration: ZK-CGA
C/n / msn: 50810
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Tararua Range foothills, SE of Ohau -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Palmerston North NZPM
Destination airport:Wellington NZWN
Pilot: Keith Albert Tooley.
Passenger: Herbert William Bernard Patterson.

The Cessna departed Palmerston North for Wellington, VFR, at 1634. An active cold front had passed through Wellington at about 1430, bringing a southerly wind of 20-25 knots and a cloud base of 1,000 feet with patches lower, and closing the airport to inbound VFR traffic.

In the pre-take off exchange, Palmerston North Tower advised the pilot that Wellington had been re-opened to VFR traffic. Until then the pilot had intended to fly only as far as Paraparaumu.
The pilot acknowledged this and gave an ETA at Wellington of 1725 hours.
At 1651 the pilot made a position report to Wellington ACC : " Foxton 2,000 feet, estimating Wellington 1725."
The end of daylight at Wellington was at 1736.
At 1654 a further Special Weather for Wellington Airport originating at 1650, " surface wind 180 degrees T., 25-30 knots " was passed to the aircraft and acknowledged.
Nothing further was heard from ZK-CGA.

At about 1700 two witnesses in the Ohau East area heard an aircraft flying low overhead in cloud. One of the witnesses described the weather at the time as " dismal."
The latter witness heard the sound of a crash, followed by a " revving up " of the engine and then the sound of another crash and then silence. The witness went to his home and 'phoned the Levin police station at 1720. He estimated that the trip took 15 minutes, thus placing the time of the accident at about 1705.

The Cessna had struck the steep face of a gully in a LH diving turn, under power. The location was 650 feet amsl.
The plane struck the ground left wing tip first, then the nose, before turning upside down and coming to rest inverted about 120 feet further downhill. The aircraft was wrecked. There was no fire. This was not a survivable accident.
The flaps were found extended 20 degrees. Controls such as switches, etc, were all found to be in the expected positions. There was no indication of an engine failure in flight.

The passenger, Mr Patterson, had a background of flying piston-engine and jet aircraft in the Royal Air Force. He had not held a civil pilot licence in recent times, as far as was known.
It was speculated that he may have taken the controls in order to recover from the dangerous situation the aircraft was in. If so it was too late.

The investigators concluded :
" 2.2.2. Probable Cause - The probable cause of the accident was collision of the aircraft with cloud - covered high ground as a consequence of the pilot losing control following disorientation in cloud. "

Location: 4.5 miles southeast of Ohau, Horowhenua.

Aircraft Accident Report No. 1774.

Ross Kerr (2006) A Chronology of the Tararua & Rimutaka Ranges

Revision history:

22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
01-Jun-2011 20:36 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
01-Jun-2011 20:55 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
22-Oct-2013 09:52 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
16-May-2018 20:29 Ron Averes Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
06-Aug-2018 09:20 angels one five Updated [Narrative]

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