Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 172H, VH-KWX, Nowra NSW, 5 June 1971

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The flight had been planned as a scenic tour of the snowfields near Cooma and two of the passengers had travelled a considerable distance to participate. The forecast ordered for the route indicated that the weather was unsatisfactory and the flight was postponed and a second forecast was then obtained. The pilot decided that the flight was possible under the Visual Flight Rules although the first part of the route would have to be flown above cloud. After taking off the aircraft climbed through a hole in the cloud and set course, climbing to 8, 000 feet on top of complete cloud cover. Shortly afterwards the pilot was advised by radio that a light aircraft in the area had reported 8/8 cloud, base 5,500 feet and the pilot elected to descend through the cloud although he held no instrument rating and had virtually no experience of instrument flying. With the aircraft still in cloud at 4,200 feet, the pilot turned back towards Wollongong and began to climb to regain visual flight. Before he was able to top the cloud, the instruments appeared to give some unexpected indications and the pilot lost control. Several violent manoeuvres then took place before control was regained and the climb resumed. Again the pilot was unable to maintain control and eventually the aircraft broke cloud just above heavy timber in conditions of very limited visibility. This situation left the pilot with a severely restricted choice of alternatives and the aircraft was subsequently flown into the tops of the trees and crashed to the ground 120 feet below.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 108KB]
General details
Date: 05 June 1971   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1040 EST    
Location: Nowra    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 06 October 1971   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Aircraft registration VH-KWX  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Wollongong  
Departure time 0958  
Destination Wollongong  
Last update 13 May 2014