Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Pilots can learn from Deniliquin plane crash

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau believes pilots can learn from a plane crash in Deniliquin on New Year’s Eve.

ZOE MCMAUGH March 25, 2014 4:33am

The plane after crash landing in a rice paddy.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released a report into a plane crash in Deniliquin on New Year’s Eve as a learning tool for other pilots.

The crash in question occurred about 12.30pm on December 31, 2013, about 20km north of Deniliquin when the pilot, who walked away uninjured, was forced to land in about 20cm of water in a rice paddy shortly after take-off.

The plane had lost power and flipped onto its roof after landing.

According to the report, the Grumman G-164A aircraft headed west after leaving an airstrip about 18km north of Deniliquin to conduct aerial fertiliser spreading.

‘‘The pilot reported applying a higher power setting than normal for take-off to allow for the warm temperature (about 25ºC) and short airstrip,’’ it said in the report.

‘‘When at about 150 feet (46m) above ground level, the pilot levelled the aircraft off and commenced a right turn towards the north. During the turn, the pilot felt the aircraft sink.

‘‘The pilot rolled the wings level and elected not to jettison the fertiliser load at that time as the aircraft normally stopped sinking once the wings were level.

‘‘However, the aircraft continued to sink and the pilot then jettisoned the load.

‘‘When at about 20 to 30 feet (above ground level), with a nose-high attitude, the pilot felt the aircraft’s wings shaking, indicating an imminent stall.

‘‘The pilot increased engine power in an attempt to avert the stall, but the aircraft continued to descend.

‘‘Shortly after, the wheels touched down in a rice paddy in about 20cm of water and the aircraft flipped over.

‘‘The aircraft was substantially damaged. The pilot was uninjured.’’

The aircraft was loaded with about 450kg of fertiliser, which the report said was ‘‘well below’’ the maximum operating weight for the conditions.

Tasked to determine whether there should a full investigation, the bureau said the report’s aim was to ‘‘allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions’’.

The report deemed the crash a ‘‘collision with terrain’’ and an ‘‘accident’’.

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