Saturday, January 19, 2019

Liberty XL-2, J & R Corbett Pty Ltd, VH-XLK: Fatal accident occurred August 06, 2019 in Braidwood, Australia

NTSB Identification: WPR19WA210
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 06, 2019 in Braidwood, Australia
Aircraft: Liberty Aerospace XL-2, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 6, 2019, at 0138 coordinated universal time, a Liberty Aerospace XL-2, registration VH-XLK, collided with terrain during a landing attempt near Braidwood, New South Wales, Australia. The pilot and sole occupant was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the accident. As the state of manufacture of the airplane and engines, the NTSB has designated a US accredited representative to assist the ATSB in its investigation.

All inquiries concerning this accident should be directed to the ATSB:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau
62 Northbourne Avenue
Canberra ACT 2601
Tel: 1 800 020 616
Tel: (02) 6257 4150
International: +61 2 6257 4150

Collision with terrain involving Liberty Aerospace XL2, VH-XLK, near Braidwood, New South Wales, on August 06, 2019
Investigation number: AO-2019-040

A community is in mourning after a light aircraft crashed near Braidwood, 90 kilometres to the east of Canberra.

The deceased pilot's name has not been formally released but it's understood he was from Picton in New South Wales.

Acting Inspector Ben Bowles of the Queanbeyan police said the pilot had been attempting to land at a strip on a property near the Nerriga Road when he lost control.

Eye-witness, Alan Hannaford, said, "It just happened in a heart-beat."

Mr. Hannaford who has a stud farm on Nerriga Road said, the plane hit the ground nose first on his neighbor's property. 

"He circled once, and when he circled a second time, he'd gone past the bottom of the strip. We thought 'Oh that's it, he'll head off'.

"And in a heartbeat, the left wing dropped and the plane did a sort of a 90 degree spin and just drove straight into the ground in."

Mr. Hannaford has a landing strip on his farm, but it is not clear if the pilot was trying to land there or on a neighboring property.

The dead man had flown from Camden to Moruya on Monday, stayed overnight and was flying back - but planning to land on the way at the Braidwood property. 

The dead man is a stalwart of the business scene in Picton. He has developed property there, including a shopping mall.

One of his friends, Robert Kahn, said, "I'm devastated. He was a great man to do business with."

The deceased pilot was flying solo in a small two-seater XL-2 Liberty. "He loved flying," said Mr Kahn, who has been a tenant of the deceased man for 30 years as well as a friend.

The cause of the crash is not known. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating.

Three transport safety investigators from Canberra with experience in aircraft maintenance, operations and materials failure were to be deployed to the site. 

"The initial ATSB safety investigation will include examination of the accident site and the assessment of aircraft and pilot records, weather information and any available recorded data," a spokesperson from the safety bureau said.

The area is outside normal air traffic control and the procedure would be for a pilot to broadcast his intentions on a recognised frequency.

Three ambulances and a rescue helicopter were dispatched to the scene by NSW Ambulance, though two of the crews and the helicopter were stood down when it was clear that nothing could be done for the crash pilot.

A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman confirmed the single engine XL-2 Liberty aircraft, with the registration number VH-XLK, had crashed just under four 3.5 nautical miles north-east of Braidwood.

The aircraft was manufactured in America in 2008 and was first registered in Australia in February 2009.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the body of the pilot had been found in the wreckage.

Officers were called to a property on Nerriga Road, just outside of the country town, about 11:30am on Tuesday, with reports a light plane had crashed.

When authorities arrived, the pilot was found in the wreckage.

NSW Ambulance inspector Steven Owen said the man died at the scene.

"The male pilot was the sole occupant of plane and his injuries were life threatening.

"Tragically, on arrival NSW Ambulance paramedics were unable to provide any assistance and the pilot was deceased on scene."

A spokesman from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said the plane crashed on private property while attempting to land, but it was unclear as to whether it was landing on an airstrip or making an emergency landing.

A spokesman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said the plane was a small Liberty XL2 aircraft, and that investigators had been deployed from Canberra to look into the cause of the crash.

"While landing at a private airstrip, the aircraft flipped and came to rest in an upright position. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries, while the aircraft was substantially damaged," he said.

"A report will be released at the end of the investigation. But should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant stakeholders so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken."

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