Sunday, November 03, 2013

PZL-Mielec M-18A Dromader, Rebel Ag, VH-TZJ: Accident occurred October 24, 2013 in Ulladulla, Australia

NTSB Identification: WPR14WA029 
 Accident occurred Thursday, October 24, 2013 in Ulladulla, Australia
Aircraft: PZL OKECIE M18, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On October 24, 2013 about 1000 local time, a PZL M18A Dromader aircraft, Australian registration VH-TZJ, collided with terrain near Ulladulla, Australia. The airplane was substantially damaged and the pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as an agricultural flight under the pertinent civil regulations of the government of Australia.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Australia. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of Australia. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

P.O. Box 967, Civic Square

Canberra A.C.T. 2608


Tel: +612 6274 6054

Fax: +612 6274 6434

43 year old father of three David Black, from Trangie in the state's central west, died when his water bomber came down in the Charleys Forest area on October 24. 

AUSTRALIAN Transport Safety Bureau investigators have confirmed a water bomber that crashed fighting the Wirritin fire in the Budawang Ranges west of Ulladulla last month broke up in mid-flight.

The ATSB is investigating the fatal accident involving a M18 Dromader aircraft at about 10am on October 24, in which 43-year-old pilot David Black from Trangie was killed.

For several days the accident site had been inaccessible due to rugged terrain, high winds, low cloud and nearby bushfires.

Following the efforts of the Rural Fire Service, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the NSW Police, a team of five ATSB investigators, including a materials specialist, were able to examine the aircraft wreckage on site last Wednesday.

The examination found that the left wing had separated at the joint between the outer wing and the centre wing sections.

The ATSB team examined the joints closely to determine the failure mode that resulted in the in-flight separation of the wing.

Preliminary examination indicated that the left outer wing lower attachment lug had fractured through an area of pre-existing fatigue cracking in the lug lower ligament.

The fatigue cracking reduced the structural integrity of the fitting to the point where operational loads produced an overstress fracture of the remaining lug material.

M18 Dromader aircraft have a cantilever wing that is anchored at one end with no mid-span supports.

The examination was completed on Thursday with several components removed from the accident site for further examination at the ATSB’s Canberra facilities.

They included both sections of the separated lower main spar lug and the remainder of the lower main spar attachment point (left wing); the entire upper main spar attachment point (left wing); part of the rear spar attachment point (left wing) and the entire lower main spar attachment point (right wing).

Following M18 Dromader accidents in the United States involving in-flight wing separation in September 2000, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2000‑18-12.

This AD required repetitive inspections of the centre wing to outer wing attach joints for “cracks in the lugs, corrosion in the main holes, and ovalisation of the main holes”.

On October 19 2000, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) issued the same basic inspection requirements every 500 hours in service or every 12 months, whichever came first.

The wings of Mr Black’s aircraft were last inspected on August 8, 2013 and up to October 17, the aircraft had accumulated about 110 hours in service since the last wing inspection.

A preliminary investigation report will be released to the public by November 24.
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A funeral service for Mr Black has been held at Forbes in the Central West with hundreds of people attending to pay their last respects.

The Rural Fire Service has honoured Mr Black with a posthumous Commissioners Commendation For Service. 


PZL-Mielec M-18A Dromader, Rebel Ag, VH-TZJ 

In-flight breakup involving PZL Mielec M18A Dromader aircraft, VH-TZJ, 37 km west of Ulladulla, NSW on 24 October 2013 Investigation number: AO-2013-187

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