Aviation safety investigations & reports

Pterodactyl Mk 3, Not Registered, Beaumont (5 km North Bathurst) NSW, 31 March 1985

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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A series of demonstration flights had been arranged by the aircraft owner. The weather was clear and sunny, with occasional wind gusts up to about 5 knots. Thermal activity was reported in the area. The pilot was the manufacturer of the aircraft, which was sold in kit form. Although he had considerable experience on the aircraft type, he was not familiar with flight in thermalling conditions. After conducting three short demonstration flights with a passenger on board on each occasion, the pilot arranged with the owner to carry out a solo flight to gain thermalling experience. Witnesses reported that the ground roll appeared to be normal, but the aircraft commenced a turn at about 10 feet above the ground while climbing at an unusually steep angle. After the aircraft had reached a height of about 100 feet the climb angle was seen to steepen further, and shortly afterwards the left wing dropped and the aircraft entered a spin. The rotation ceased after one and a half turns with the aircraft then in a steep nose-down attitude. Recovery from this dive was apparently being made when the aircraft struck the ground. No evidence of any mechanical failure or defect was subsequently found. It was considered probable that the unusually steep climb attitude was the result of either the pilot's wish to demonstrate maximum performance, or the unexpected effects of a thermal. The pitch-up which occurred before the stall and subsequent spin was possibly related to the thermal activity.

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[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 31 March 1985   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: N/A    
Location: Beaumont (5 km North Bathurst)    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 15 April 1986   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Unknown  
Aircraft model Pterodactyl Mk 3  
Aircraft registration Not registered  
Type of operation Sports Aviation  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Beaumont NSW  
Departure time N/A  
Destination Beaumont NSW