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The pilot departed the treatment area as darkness fell, to fly the 15 kilometres to Ayr aerodrome. His loader/driver had left the agricultural strip earlier after the last load of urea fertilizer had been loaded into the hopper of the aircraft. He had directions from the pilot to deploy kerosene lights on one side of runway 11 at Ayr for a night landing. Immediately before the accident, the aircraft was seen to orbit a farmhouse three kilometres north-west of the threshold of runway 11. It was flying low with the spray lights ON, in a very intense thunderstorm. Heavy rain was falling at the time. The farmer saw the aircraft lights disappear to the south and at the same time the electricity supply was cut. Convinced that the aircraft had crashed, he drove to the area where he had seen it disappear. When he arrived at a crossroads, he saw downed powerlines and the pilot, whom he recognised, standing among them. The pilot was in shock and incoherent. The aircraft had struck 11,000 Volt powerlines at a major junction of the electricity grid. It had cartwheeled and came to rest, upright, in tall sugar cane, 100 metres from the intersection. The pilot holds a Class Four and a Five Instrument Rating which entitle him to fly at night in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC). However, the aircraft was certified for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) only. Weather at destination was such that VMC was not met and flight by visual reference was not possible. The pilot had decided to return to Ayr so that spray gear could be fitted to the aircraft in preparation for work on the following day.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 13 January 1989 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1931  
Location:1 km WSW of Ayr Aerodrome Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Wirestrike 
Release date: 16 March 1989 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 188 
Aircraft registration: VH-UDG 
Serial number: 188-03281 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Mona Park QLD
Departure time:1920 Approx.
Destination:Ayr Aerodrome QLD
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