Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA 24-250, VH-RJY, 3 km West Barraba NSW, 9 June 1986

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft arrived at the destination strip about 40 minutes after last light. Weather conditions in the area were good, with light winds and clear skies, however the night was very dark and there was no visible horizon. Witnesses on the ground reported that the aircraft seemed to be at a normal height on the crosswind leg and as it turned onto downwind. However, it was then seen to enter a gradual but steady descent. About half way along the downwind leg, the lights of the aircraft were lost to sight. The aircraft impacted the ground in a straight and level attitude, bounced 118 metres, and then bounced and skidded for a further 216 metres before coming to rest. No fault was subsequently found with the aircraft which might have contributed to the development of the accident. The pilot lacked recent experience in night operations. He had made only two night flights in the previous 32 months, the most recent being some 11 months prior to the accident. On the downwind leg of the circuit, the pilot had apparently not increased engine power after the gear was lowered. He had also been concentrating on his position relative to the flare path, and had evidently paid insufficient attention to the height of the aircraft.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 09 June 1986   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1556    
Location: 3 km West Barraba    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 28 August 1986   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-24  
Aircraft registration VH-RJY  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Canberra ACT  
Departure time 1556  
Destination Barraba NSW  
Last update 13 May 2014