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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 63249
Last updated: 30 August 2021
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Time:c. 0930
Type:Silhouette image of generic C180 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 180
Owner/operator:Rangitikei Air Services Ltd
Registration: ZK-BJE
MSN: 31257
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Pungatawa, 9 miles east of Taihape -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:W.J.Gilbert farm airstrip
Destination airport:
Pilot: Donald Arthur Wallis (21).

Shortly after the Cessna 180 took off on a topdressing run the attention of a witness on the ground was drawn by the sound of a rifle-like "crack", and the aircraft was seen to dive into the ground.
It impacted in a small artificial pond and was wrecked. Fire did not occur. The pilot was killed instantly.

The wreck of the plane was removed from the pond and examined by the crash investigator.
The loud report heard from the aircraft immediately before the loss of control suggested structural failure.

Examination of the engine and propeller showed that the engine was at full power at the moment of impact.
Two aspects of the damage to the airframe presented themselves at once.
First, a fracture of the port main-plane rear spar. After further investigation it was concluded that this fracture was the result of impact forces in the crash.
Secondly, a transverse fracture was found in the fuselage at Station 172. This also was, after examination, judged to be a result of the ground impact.

The possibility of a runaway trim was considered.
The trimming control was found to be in the full " tail heavy " position, a setting that would not normally be used for take off with a 7 hundredweight load in the hopper.

The investigator felt that such an occurrence might be very difficult for an inexperienced pilot to handle and avoid a stall.

The investigator concluded " The possibility must remain that the tailplane trim "ran away" while the aircraft was in a steep turn and that the immediate effect of this was to cause the aircraft to stall",
and " There is no evidence to show that the pilot was directly responsible for the occurrence of the accident."

Aircraft Accident Report No. 25/3/1197.


Revision history:

22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
14-Jun-2011 04:12 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Damage, Narrative]
15-May-2013 19:30 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Narrative]

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