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The pilot intended to drop a flour bomb at a local cricket ground. He subsequently advised that during the run-in to drop the bomb at 400 feet agl a downdraft was encountered. Full power was rapidly applied but the engine faltered and the aircraft collided with the top of a tree at a height of about 35 feet agl. Some 40 people were gathered under this tree at the time. The impact shattered the windscreen and the cockpit was filled with debris, and a 2 metre limb remained attached to the horizontal stabiliser. The pilot was able to retain control of the aircraft and a safe landing was carried out at the destination aerodrome. No evidence was found to support the pilot's claim that the aircraft was affected by a downdraft. It was possible that the pilot was distracted by the actions required to drop the flour bomb, and did not pay sufficient attention to the area ahead of the aircraft.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 18 August 1985 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1624  
Location:Cairns Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland  
Release date: 26 September 1985  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-28 
Aircraft registration: VH-PZH 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Cairns QLD
Departure time:1624
Destination:Cairns QLD
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