Aviation safety investigations & reports

Auster JIN, VH-BTK, Devon Downs, Black Hill, SA, 3 October 1970

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot, an enthusiastic light aircraft owner, had organised a week end "fly in" to his airstrip at Devon Downs, which was attended by light aircraft pilots and parachutists together with their families and friends. During the day a programme of general flying was carried out and late in the afternoon the pilot flew to nearby Scrubby Flat with the two passengers to pick up some sleeping bags. The passenger in the right hand front seat was also a qualified pilot but the right hand control column had been removed earlier in the day to permit parachute dropping and had not been replaced. The people assembled at the airstrip at Devon Downs first sighted the aircraft on its return as it climbed up from the nearby Murray River valley which, in this area, is bordered by 200 feet high cliffs. The aircraft then made a shallow descent and flew along the strip on a heading of about 250 degrees, at a very low height. At the western end of the strip the aircraft pulled up steeply to between 200 and 300 feet above the ground and began a "wingover" turn manoeuvre to the left. As the turn progressed to the point at which the wings were steeply banked and the fuselage approximately horizontal, the spectators saw the aircraft falter, then the nose dropped and the aircraft dived into the ground at a very steep angle. A fierce fire broke out immediately on impact and the aircraft was completely destroyed.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 176KB]
General details
Date: 03 October 1970   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1800 CST    
Location: Black Hill    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 28 June 1971   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  
Last update 16 May 2014