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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 18432
Last updated: 14 January 2022
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Date:31-DEC-1972
Time:09:30 ESuT
Type:Auster J/5G Cirrus Autocar
Owner/operator:Albert John Parker
Registration: VH-FAM
MSN: 3094
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Colac, Victoria -   Australia
Phase: Take off
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Yeodene, Victoria
Destination airport:Yeodene, Victoria
Investigating agency: BASI
Narrative:
This Blackburn Cirrus-powered Auster J/5G Autocar (c/n 3094) was purchased new to replace the earlier Auster VH-CAM which had crashed in Papua New Guinea on 5 December 1951 (which see). It was added to the Register as VH-CAM (the second) on 16 March 1955 and allocated to the DCA's New Guinea Region.

It was sold to Dr J W Arundell of South Caulfield, Victoria, and re-registered as VH-FAM on 6 February 1961. After passing through a number of private owners, it was destroyed in a fatal accident on 31 December 1972. The elderly pilot, Albert John Parker, aged 75, whose Private Pilot Licence had expired, was suspected to have suffered a heart attack and died at the controls during take off. It is possible that he was already dead before the aircraft crashed.

According to the summary of the ATSB report into the incident:

"The pilot had held a private pilot licence which expired in April 1972, and during June of that year he underwent and passed a renewal medical examination conducted by an approved aviation medical examiner.

He did not, however, disclose that he was being treated by another medical practitioner for heart disease of a type which, in fact, precluded him from meeting the medical standards applicable to the holder of a pilot licence.

His aircraft was undergoing repairs at that time and, because he had not acquired the recent flying experience required for the renewal of his private licence a student pilot licence was then issued to him. The holder of a student pilot licence is not authorised to pilot an aircraft unless he is accompanied by or is under the supervision of a rated flight instructor or an approved pilot.

About a month prior to the accident the aircraft was returned to the pilot at the completion of repair work and he subsequently flew it on several occasions totaling about four hours. On the morning of the accident the weather was fine and the pilot declared his intention to make a flight.

Accompanied by his two grandsons he proceeded to the field where his aircraft was hangared and supervised the actions of the two boys who pushed the aircraft from the hangar and topped up one of its two fuel tanks. He completed a pre-flight inspection during which he pulled the propeller through by hand several times and then boarded the aircraft alone.

He started the engine and taxied the aircraft a short distance to the end of the landing strip where the engine was run for a short period. An apparently normal take-off was then made into a light wind and the aircraft climbed away to an estimated height of 100 feet. The aircraft banked into what appeared to be the commencement of a normal left hand turn but, as the turn continued, the wing progressively lowered further and the nose of the aircraft went down. The aircraft descended and struck the ground in a steep nose down attitude."

ATSB Conclusion:
From the available evidence it has not been possible to determine the cause of the accident but a possible explanation is that the pilot became medically incapacitated to such a degree that he was unable to maintain control of the aircraft.

Sources:

1. http://www.airwaysmuseum.com/Auster%20J5%20VH-CAM%20nr%202.htm
2. http://www.edcoatescollection.com/ac1/austcl/VH-FAM.html
3. http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/24760/197202639.pdf

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


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
17-May-2008 11:10 ASN archive Added
23-Apr-2014 17:25 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
23-Apr-2014 17:33 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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