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Last updated: 18 January 2022
Datum:Montag 7 Dezember 2015
Zeit: 10:57
Flugzeugtyp:Silhouette image of generic EA50 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eclipse 500
Fluggesellschaft:Dixco Transport (Pty) Ltd
Kennzeichen: ZS-DKS
Werknummer: 000142
Baujahr: 2008
Triebwerk: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F-A
Besatzung:Todesopfer: 1 / Insassen: 1
Fluggäste:Todesopfer: 0 / Insassen: 0
Gesamt:Todesopfer: 1 / Insassen: 1
Sachschaden: Zerstört
Konsequenzen: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Unfallort:33 km (20.6 Meilen) SW of Swellendam, Western Cape (   Südafrika)
Flugphase: Während des Fluges (ENR)
Flug von:Lanseria Airport (HLA/FALA), Südafrika
Flug nach:Cape Town International Airport (CPT/FACT), Südafrika
The pilot and owner of the aircraft planned to fly his Eclipse 500 from Kuruman back to his home base at Cape Town, South Africa.
He decided to make a detour and land at Lanseria to refuel. He met with an associate there and handed a suitcase as well as a briefcase to the secretary of the person he visited. He indicated that his wife would come and pick it up at some stage and gave her his wife’s name and contact number with instructions to call her at 10:30 hours.
The aircraft departed Lanseria Airport at 08:21 and climbed to the cruising altitude of FL360. The last radio contact with the flight was in the vicinity of Kimberley. The aircraft entered the FACA FIR (Area Control Centre) airspace without any communication from the pilot. During the course of these events, Air Traffic and Navigation Services tried in vain on all frequencies to make contact with the aircraft. Meanwhile, the Eclipse began to deviate from the planned route.
At 10:37 the aircraft was observed to commence with a right turn, during which the height of the aircraft varied by 2000 feet, remaining between FL350 and FL370. The aircraft completed a 360° turn to the right and immediately commenced with a second right-hand turn. After it had completed the second 360° turn, it was observed to fly in an easterly direction for a brief period, during which the aircraft was observed to have climbed to an altitude of FL376, after which it descended and again entered into a right-hand turn at 10:44 at an altitude of FL330.
The aircraft completed the third right-hand turn at 10:47 at an altitude of FL305. After completing the turn, it immediately entered into a fourth right-hand turn at an altitude of FL326 and a speed of 377 knots. The aircraft completed the 360° turn at 10:48 at FL317. The aircraft was then observed flying in an easterly direction for a period of approximately 4 minutes when again it entered into a right-hand turn at 10:52 at FL321 and a speed of 290 knots. From the radar footage this orbit was observed to be very tight, as the aircraft was observed to have completed the 360° turn at 10:53 at an altitude of FL335 and a speed of 446 knots. The last time the accident aircraft was observed on radar was at 10:55 when it was at an altitude of 12300 feet, a speed of 396 knots and a heading of 008°.
At 10:55 the aircraft was intercepted by a Saab Gripen supersonic military jet from the South African Air Force (SAAF), which had been dispatched from Air Force Base Overberg. The Gripen pilot could not get close enough to the aircraft to observe whether the pilot of ZS-DKS was conscious or not. The Eclipse jet spiralled towards the ground in a left wing low attitude until it impacted the terrain.
Shortly after the aircraft had departed Lanseria, the pilot's wife was contacted by SMS about the bags. It appeared she was not aware why the bags were left at Lanseria for her and stated she had no plans of going there. The investigators reported that it was not uncommon for the pilot to drop of bags during his company travels like this, but in this case it remained unexplained why he took a detour to Lanseria to drop of the bags.

Probable Cause:

Probable cause: It was observed that the aircraft performed a series of unexplainable as well as erratic flying maneuvres, which resulted in a loss of control and the aircraft to enter into a spiral dive, which was observed by the Gripen pilot before colliding with the ground.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 10 months
Accident number: CA18/2/3/9505
Download report: Final report

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photo of Eclipse-500-ZS-DKS
accident date: 07-12-2015
type: Eclipse 500
registration: ZS-DKS

Video, social media

N2711H aka ZS-DKS Crash Radar Track from Ron Lebel on Vimeo.

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Lanseria Airport to Cape Town International Airport as the crow flies is 1261 km (788 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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