Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA23-250, VH-CVN, Townsville, Qld, 8 August 1970

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot obtained area and terminal weather forecasts and submitted a flight plan for a VFR flight below 5,000 feet. Although advised that low cloud and poor visibility were expected towards Townsville, he did not nominate an alternate aerodrome, but indicated that he was aware that there were several suitable aerodromes en route. During the flight he was kept informed of the Townsville weather situation and at 0924 hours he was advised that Townsville was closed to VFR flights. Although the aircraft carried sufficient fuel for diversion to a suitable aerodrome, the pilot elected to proceed to a position 20-25 miles west of Townsville and hold outside controlled airspace. At 0942 he reported that he was beneath cloud, visual and that he had Townsville in sight. The weather at Townsville had improved slightly and he was given and acknowledged a clearance to enter the control zone with the requirement that within the zone he should maintain visual flight with reference to the ground. At 0952 the pilot reported that he was about 30 miles west of Townsville and at about this time an aircraft, believed to be VH-CVN, was seen 38 miles west of Townsville heading north in heavy rain beneath a 200 feet cloud base. The pilot was given heading information by Townsville to assist his navigation, but at 1018 communications were lost. The wreckage was found in mountainous country 21 miles west of Townsville. The aircraft had struck a timbered ridge about 150 feet below the crest while in almost level flight and on an easterly heading.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 97KB]
General details
Date: 08 August 1970   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1018 EST    
Location: Townsville    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 27 July 1971   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-23  
Aircraft registration VH-CVN  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Archerfield  
Departure time 0613  
Destination Townsville  
Last update 16 May 2014