Friday, January 27, 2012

de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth, VH-GVA: Fatal accident occurred January 27, 2012 at Maryborough Airport, Australia

Collision with terrain - De Havilland DH-82A aircraft, VH-GVA, Maryborough Airport, Victoria, 27 January 2012

At about 1710 on 27 January 2012, a De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd DH-82A Tiger Moth aircraft, registered VH-GVA, took off from Maryborough Airport, Victoria, with two people on board.

Immediately after lift-off, the aircraft was observed to have a partial, intermittent power loss. The pilot continued the flight with the aircraft maintaining altitude or climbing slightly. At the upwind end of the runway, the aircraft made a climbing left turn before stalling and descending. The aircraft impacted the ground and the occupants received fatal injuries.

The aircraft was seriously damaged by the accident forces and post-impact fire.

What the ATSB found

The partial engine power loss was probably a result of a partial blockage of the aircraft’s fuel cock. Although sufficient runway remained ahead to allow a safe landing, the flight was continued under limited power without gaining sufficient height to clear trees beyond the runway. Approaching the trees the aircraft climbed, lost airspeed, stalled and collided with terrain. There would have been a safer outcome had the pilot immediately landed the aircraft straight ahead.

Safety message

This accident illustrates several of the points made in the ATSB’s research report AR-2010-055, Managing partial power loss after takeoff in single-engine aircraft. In particular, pilots are reminded that continued power in such circumstances is unpredictable and risk can be reduced by conducting a controlled landing at the earliest opportunity.

https://www.atsb.gov.au

Two people are dead after a vintage plane clipped trees and exploded in a fireball at an airstrip in central Victoria yesterday.

It is understood the Tiger Moth was taking off from Maryborough airport just after 5pm.

Witnesses told of seeing a "ball of flames" moments before the plane crashed.

The burning aircraft caused a grassfire. Seven Country Fire Authority crews were required to bring it under control.

Angie Clarke, a Maryborough Aero Club member and friend of the two men, said John Fisher and David Oxley were members of the club. Both were aged in their 60s and married.

Mr. Fisher had two daughters and lived with his wife on their vineyard in Harcourt.

Ms. Clarke said she believed Mr Fisher was flying the Tiger Moth when it went down in bush near the runway about 5.15pm.

He once had flown the same Tiger Moth from England to Australia.

"It's absolutely tragic," Ms. Clarke said. 

"He was such a fantastic man, really. He just loved planes and anything to do with planes. He had the energy, the curiosity and the interest."

Ms. Clarke said Mr Fisher worked at the airstrip on Fridays and Saturdays.

"He always took someone flying with him who wanted to go flying with him and it just happened to be Dave," Ms. Clarke said.

"Everyone wanted to go up with him. If I were here, I would have gone up."

Ms. Clarke said Mr. Fisher recently bought a new plane to restore for flying.

She said his passenger, Mr. Oxley, had enjoyed making model aircraft.

Ms. Clarke said members of the aero club were struggling to come to terms with the accident.

Victoria Police and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will investigate. 

Police will prepare a report for the coroner. 

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