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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 721
Last updated: 26 April 2019
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Date:06-FEB-1998
Time:09:00 EST
Type:Silhouette image of generic PTS2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Pitts S-2A
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: VH-DAF
C/n / msn: 2224
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Floraville Station, Queensland -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Proa Station, Queensland
Destination airport:Burketown, Queensland
Investigating agency: BASI
Narrative:
A mains power failure affected several properties along the Leichhardt River. The Far North Queensland Electricity Board (FNQEB) chartered a helicopter to conduct an aerial patrol along the affected power line. At about 15:30 the pilot of the helicopter found a break in a single wire earth return (SWER) line to Floraville station homestead where it crossed the Leichhardt River.

Debris, later identified as parts of a Pitts Special aircraft, was found downstream from the break. A 280 metre span aligned 080/260 degrees had been breached. The broken ends were flung into trees on the banks of the river.

Several days later, the wreckage of the aircraft was located by police divers. It had come to rest upside down in about 6 metres of water, approximately 160 metres downstream from, and north of the wire strike. Both persons on board (pilot and passenger) were killed

Examination of the aircraft revealed that it was banked approximately 15 degrees right wing low
when it struck the power line from a southerly direction. The left top wing had been torn from the
aircraft

The broken span was located near a 20 degree right bend in the river. It was 280 metres long, aligned 080/260 degrees, and hanging approximately 10 metres above the water. The line was suspended below the level of the tops of the trees on the riverbank. Viewed from the south, the old, oxidised wire was difficult to see against the background.

The power poles were positioned away from the riverbanks amongst trees. They, too, were difficult
to see. The distance of the aircraft wreckage from the point of impact with the wire, and the position of the broken ends of the wire, are indicative of a high speed impact.

The homestead was serviced by a gravel air strip aligned north/south, parallel to the reach of the
river where the aircraft was found. The southern threshold was approximately 800 metres north-west of the wire strike. The airstrip was not visible from the level of the power line across the river. The local weather at the time of the accident was fine with a clear sky.

Sources:

1. http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/1998/aair/aair199800344.aspx
2. http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/24992/ASOR199800344.pdf

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


Images:

Photo of VH-DAF courtesy AirHistory.net


Adelaide - Parafield (YPPF)
17 February 1996; (c) David Tanner (via Daniel Tanner)

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Jan-2008 10:00 ASN archive Added
13-Aug-2008 11:15 RobertMB Updated
12-Apr-2012 15:18 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
15-Apr-2014 18:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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