Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA25/150, VH-FAP, Ballan, Vic, 2 July 1969

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot planned a spraying run which involved crossing a ridge below a power line 37 feet above ground level and passing between two trees 54 feet apart. It was necessary also to climb steeply to clear other trees situated 280 feet beyond the ridge. Having completed the run, the pilot realised that his attention had been so concentrated on the obstructions that he was not confident that he had achieved full coverage and he therefore decided that he should make another run across the ridge on a reciprocal track. Upon passing the trees on the approach in this direction, a rapid loss of height was necessary to spray up the slope to the ridge and to ensure clearance from the overhead wire. The pilot achieved correct spraying height when within 100 feet or so of the ridge but was unable to simultaneously align the aircraft for the run and the right wing struck one of the trees. The leading edge was extensively damaged and the pilot closed the throttle in an attempt to land ahead. However, the aircraft entered an uncontrolled turn to the right and, after passing through the top of another tree, struck the bank of a creek almost inverted and in a steep nose down attitude. Fire broke out on impact and, although the pilot received a blow on the helmet which momentarily stunned him, he was able to evacuate the aircraft and extinguish his burning clothes in a creek nearby.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 144KB]
General details
Date: 02 July 1969   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1010 EST    
Location: near Ballan    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 11 February 1970   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-FAP  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Ballarat  
Departure time 0950  
Destination Ballarat  
Last update 01 April 2011