Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 188, VH-RBX, Wallaroi (5 km SE Goondiwindi) NSW, 7 May 1988

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot was very experienced, having been an agricultural pilot for a considerable number of years. He had been aerial spraying a paddock for weed prevention with a herbicide, flying in a south to north direction, and passing under power lines which crossed the paddock from east to west.

The aircraft was observed to strike the power lines with the tip of its fin, causing the empennage to separate from the fuselage. The aircraft then dived into the ground approximately 50 metres beyond the power lines, bounced back into the air and slid for another 47 metres with the engine, propeller and right hand fuel tank separating from the aircraft. The fuel tank exploded and set fire to the grass on the steep slope of a creek bed, next to where the aircraft came to rest. The pilot received minor injuries as a result of the impact, but was able to remove himself from the aircraft without help. He then slipped on the steep angled wing-walk and fell into the fire, receiving severe burns to the areas of arms and legs not covered by clothing. There was no medical evidence indicating that the pilot had been effected by the herbicide before the accident. This type of aircraft has been the subject of many wire strikes to the fin, as it is higher than the propeller arc in level flight, and pilots can misjudge its position.

This occurrence was not the subject of an on-site investigation.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 07 May 1988   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1335 EST    
Location: Wallaroi (5 km SE Goondiwindi)    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Wirestrike  
Release date: 31 August 1989   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 188  
Aircraft registration VH-RBX  
Serial number 188-0123  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Wallaroi NSW  
Departure time 1315  
Destination Wallaroi NSW