ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 149
Last updated: 5 December 2021
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic BOLT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Steen Skybolt
Registration: VH-JIG
MSN: N70
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:9 km S Bega, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Frogs Hollow Airfield, NSW
Destination airport:Frogs Hollow Airfield, NSW
Investigating agency: BASI
The pilot took off from Frogs Hollow Airfield in an amateur-built Skybolt biplane to carry out aerobatic routines. Witnesses advised that the aircraft climbed to approximately 3,000 ft above the airfield and commenced manoeuvres that included stall turns, one and two turn spins, a flick roll and loops. The pilot then carried out one turn through 360 degrees rolling the aircraft about its longitudinal axis during the turn. The pilot then flew an inverted 360 degree turn. After a pause, he climbed vertically, carried out either a stall turn or wingover and entered an 'erect' or upright spin. After one turn of the spin, the aircraft's attitude was seen to change from 'erect' to inverted. Witnesses advised that as the aircraft descended, the spin may have changed in direction and as it got closer to the ground, the nose began to drop. At about 1,000 ft above ground level the aircraft was observed to be spinning to the right. The rate of rotation began to decrease, with the nose dropping through the vertical. The aircraft then entered an erect spiral dive from which it was recovering when it impacted the ground and caught fire. The impact was not survivable. The wreckage and wreckage trail indicated that at impact, the aircraft was approximately 40 degrees nose down, right wing low, rotating to the right, with some forward momentum. This is consistent with witness evidence that indicated that the aircraft was probably in the early stages of recovery from a spiral dive. The engine noise was reported to be normal until immediately prior to impact when power was removed, re-applied, then removed again. Examination of the wreckage did not disclose any evidence of pre-impact distress with the engine, the airframe or systems. The weather was fine, with scattered high cloud, and was not considered to be a factor in the accident. The aircraft was properly certificated, had been properly maintained and serviced and had a valid maintenance release. The aircraft had been refuelled with sufficient fuel for the flight and was correctly loaded with respect to its centre of gravity. The pilot had carried out a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft during which he had set the altimeter to record height above the airfield, known as QFE. The pilot's licence and medical certificate were valid. The pilot commenced flying in 1959 and over the next 35 years had flown 722 hours. He was reported to have been a competent, self-taught aerobatic pilot. There was no record of the pilot receiving formal aerobatic training except for a brief period of instruction in spin recovery when he was endorsed on the Skybolt. The pilot's licence did not have an endorsement permitting him to conduct low-level aerobatic manoeuvres below 3,000 ft. He had not been a member of the Australian Aerobatic Club. He had flown 83 flights totalling some 60 hours in the Skybolt in the three years that it had been based at Frogs Hollow. Most of that flying had been in the first year when he flew 47 flights. In the second year he flew 22 flights, and in the year prior to the accident, 14 flights. He flew most weekends and regularly flew a variety of single-engine aircraft that were based on the field. The majority of his Skybolt flights averaged approximately 30 minutes duration and involved essentially the same aerobatic routine as carried out prior to the accident, with the exception of the inverted spin.


ATSB Occurrence Nr. 199500124

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


Photo of VH-JIG courtesy

Wangaratta / Victoria (YWGT / WGT)
29 March 1986; (c) David Tanner (via Daniel Tanner)

Revision history:

21-Jan-2008 10:00 ASN archive Added
03-Mar-2018 18:55 Pineapple Updated [Time, Cn, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description