Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA25-235 Pawnee, Wee Waa NSW, 28 April 1969

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft was engaged in spraying a defoliant preparation in mature cotton crops. The pilot had flown a total of 4 hours 30 minutes in a tour of duty which began at 0600 hours EST, was interrupted at 1000 hours and began again at 1630 hours when conditions were again suitable for spraying and extended into the night. The pilot completed the area on which he had been working and after the final spraying run, flown on an easterly heading, he began a climbing turn to the right to proceed to the next area, a paddock lg miles to the south west. After switching off the work lights and while manipulating the controls in the turn, the pilot felt a momentary snag of the aileron control and he switched on the cockpit lights and looked down at the floor for possible loose objects. After a few seconds, satisfied that all was in order, he switched off the cockpit lights and attempted to level the aircraft on a southerly heading. Almost immediately, and before he had regained outside visual reference, the aircraft struck the ground, 25 degrees nose down and 5 degrees left wing down on a heading of 120 degrees. The undercarriage collapsed and the aircraft slewed to rest 110 feet from the point of first impact. Fire broke out immediately and the pilot, who was otherwise uninjured, suffered burns while evacuating the aircraft.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 97KB]
General details
Date: 28 April 1969   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2000 EST    
Location: Wee Waa    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 25 June 1971   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-25  
Aircraft registration VH-SMP  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Agricultural Strip  
Destination Agricultural Strip  
Last update 13 May 2014