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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 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 28 February 1984 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
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
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Last update 13 May 2014