Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 172RG, VH-WMX, Lake Grace WA, 9 October 1982

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At the time of the accident, weather conditions were fine but it was a very dark night. The stars were obscured by a high overcast and there were only a few ground lights. The horizon was not visible. The take-off was into the southeast. Shortly after becoming airborne the aircraft entered a left turn and then began to descend. This continued until the aircraft struck the surface of a salt lake, in an inverted attitude. No contributory faults could be found with the aircraft or aircraft systems. The pilot was inexperienced in night operations and on this occasion there was a lack of external visual cues available. It is probable that the pilot became disorientated during the turn after take-off and lost control of the aircraft.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 09 October 1982   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2140    
Location: Lake Grace    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 28 February 1984   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Aircraft registration VH-WMX  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Lake Grace WA  
Departure time 2140  
Destination Jandakot WA  
Last update 13 May 2014