Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cessna U206G Stationair, VH-FRT, Adrenalin Skydivers: Fatal accident occurred March 22, 2014 at Caboolture Airfield (YCAB), Queensland, Australia

 Skydive plane crash inquiry questions ‘loose’ pilot’s seat

A draft investigative report into one of the nation’s worst sky­diving plane crashes struggles to definitively pinpoint the cause but considers the possibility of the pilot’s seat not being ­anchored.

The aviation safety watchdog’s probe into the 2014 crash that killed a pilot, two skydive instructors and their two pupils on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast also raises questions about how skydiving business flights do not need an air operator’s certificate — a safety system required of commercial passenger, freight and charter plane operators.

Pilot Andrew Aitken, 24, tandem­ skydiving instructors Glenn Norman and Juraj Glesk, and first-time skydiving pupils ­Rahuia Hohua, 27, and Joey King, 32, died when the single-engine Cessna crashed seconds after takeoff at Caboolture Airfield on March 22, 2014.

The Aviation Transport Safety Authority has confirmed that the public report into the crash would be released within a month, with a draft report provid­ed to the parties directly involved for response. An ATSB spokesman said the agency was finalising a review of the received submissions but would not comment until it was completed.

The Australian has learned that the draft report makes reference to other crashes where the pilot seat had moved, leading to the pilot losing control.

It also notes the locking pin holding the seat had sheared off — a scenario that has been interpreted by the skydiving plane’s owner, Paul Turner, as proof that the seat-anchoring mechanism, which had only recently been replac­ed, was not to blame.

The report is believed to look at whether an instructor would have been sitting with his back against the seat, stopping movement, but it points to images from previous flights showing instru­ctors sitting elsewhere.

Fuel problems have been ruled out, while the plane’s engin­e was still operating at the time of crash and the propeller was also rejected as being at fault.

Another focus is on how skydive business flights do not need an AOC — a system of safety checks and procedures involving such things as having an approp­riately qualified “chief pilot” overseeing flying operations, pilot training and maintenance and being subject to Civil Aviation Safety Authority audits.

Commercial skydiving flights are instead governed by CASA regulations administered by the Australian Parachutists Federation. CASA delegates its ­enforcement powers to the APF, which appoints “national offic­ers’’ to be in charge of areas such as training and aviation.

The draft report examines how the plane in the Caboolture crash was damaged six months before in an incident the owner blamed on a hard landing or steep descent. The ATSB is understood to have sent pictures of the aircraft’s doors to Cessna experts, who indicated they believed the damage to the aircraft wasn’t caused by the doors flying open in flight.

Contacted yesterday, the plane’s owner said he “did not have a lot of confidence in the ­accuracy of the report”.

He said he did not wish to comment further, given the repor­t was not finalised.

APF chairman Grahame Hill said yesterday the APF rejected claims skydiving needed an AOC because the current regul­ations “mirror an AOC’’ anyway. He said he believed CASA had a similar position.

CASA declined to comment.

Original article can be found here:

Aviation safety investigation report:

Collision with terrain involving Cessna U206G, VH-FRT, Caboolture Airfield, Qld on  March 22, 2014 
Investigation number: AO-2014-053
Investigation status: Active

On 22 March 2014, a Cessna Aircraft Company U206G aircraft, registered VH-FRT, was being used for commercial parachuting operations from Caboolture Airfield, Queensland. The aircraft landed at about 1050 Eastern Standard Time,[1] after completing the second flight of the day. Fuel was added to the aircraft from a refuelling facility located at the airfield, which was consistent with the operator’s normal processes.

At approximately 1124, the aircraft took off from runway 06 with the pilot, two parachuting instructors and two tandem parachutists on board. Shortly after take-off, witnesses located at the airfield observed the aircraft climb to about 150 to 200 ft above ground level before it commenced a roll to the left. The left roll steepened and the aircraft adopted a nose-down attitude until it impacted the ground in an almost vertical, left-wing low attitude. A post-impact, fuel-fed-fire destroyed the aircraft. The accident was not survivable.

Aviation safety investigation report

NTSB Identification: WPR14WA154 
Accident occurred Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Caboolture, Australia
Aircraft: CESSNA U206 - G, registration:
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

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

On March 22, 2014 about 1123 local time, a Cessna 206 airplane, Australian registration VH-FRT, crashed shortly after takeoff near Caboolture, Australia. The airplane was substantially damaged and the pilot and four passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a sport parachute operation 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

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