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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 27116
Last updated: 19 October 2019
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Date:10-AUG-1979
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic AC50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aero Commander 500S Shrike Commander
Owner/operator:Norfish Pty Ltd
Registration: VH-ALH
C/n / msn: 1810-20
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:near Essendon, Melbourne, Victoria -   Australia
Phase: Approach
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Flinders Island, TAS
Destination airport:Essendon, Melbourne (MED/YMEB)
Investigating agency: BASI
Narrative:
Formerly N4930E, this Model 500S Aero Commander was first registered as VH-ALH in January 1969 to Hancock Prospecting Co Pty Ltd. It was sold to Executive Air Services Pty Ltd in June 1973

In 1978 it passed to Norfish Pty Ltd and was written off in a crash near Essendon, Melbourne, Victoria on 10 August 1979. Both persons on board were killed. The cause was suspected to be engine failure caused by a fuel supply problem, possibly fuel exhaustion whilst on final approach.

According to an eyewitness report:

"This late 70s accident to Commander 500S VH-ALH particularly challenged my whole professional piloting ethos at the time and left me with a blood-curdling suspicion of all matters surrounding fuel.
I was number 4 behind the aircraft in the Essendon (Melbourne Downtown Airport) pattern that sunny afternoon and knew the pilot well...it is incredibly difficult to listen to a mate go down in front of you and then fly over the site within minutes.
Jim set the aircraft up to land on a fairway and did a good job in getting it positioned but unfortunately clipped trees and ended up skidding into a large bunker complex which caused the fatal impact that destroyed the aircraft. Had he crashed into houses on the approach, the airport would probably be closed by now.
It was not until several years later that the then Department of Transport Australia released this controversial report in their Aviation Safety Digest."

Sources:

1. http://web.archive.org/web/20170219102347/http://www.baaa-acro.com/1979/archives/crash-of-a-rockwell-aero-commander-500-in-melbourne-australia-2-killed/
2. http://www.edcoatescollection.com/ac1/austa/VH-ALH%282%29.html
3. http://www.matronics.com/archive/archive-get.cgi?Commander-Archive.digest.vol-ah

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


Images:

Photo of VH-ALH courtesy AirHistory.net


Adelaide - International (YPAD / ADL)
5 January 1979; (c) David Tanner (via Daniel Tanner)


Photo: BASI

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
08-Apr-2014 20:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
21-Nov-2018 20:19 harro Updated [Departure airport, Narrative, Photo, Accident report, ]

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