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Summary

Summary

Following a similar wire strike accident to another company aircraft earlier in the day, a second pilot and aircraft were brought in to complete the spraying task. The second pilot had flown 30 hours on agricultural tasks during the three weeks leading up to the accident. For approximately nine months prior to resuming agricultural operations, the pilot had been engaged in fish spotting operations. During an aerial survey of the treatment area the pilot observed a 19kV Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) powerline running south to north across the property's northern boundary. The span between support poles was 860 metres. At the property owner's request the Electricity Trust of SA (ETSA) had attached marker flags to that portion of the powerline above the owner's property. Following the survey, the pilot laid a smoke trail to ascertain wind speed and direction. The wind was evaluated to be a light south westerly. The pilot had intended to use the flags on the powerline as visual markers to indicate his passage beneath the powerline. Spraying started along the northern boundary flying east to west with the pilot pulling up into a right turn before the SWER powerline. On completion of the second run to the west, and while the aircraft was above trees in the adjacent property, the pilot was unable to sight the flags on the wire to the south of the aircraft flight path. With the flags unsighted, and no positive ground marker to indicate wire passage, the pilot, estimating that he had underflown the wire, pulled up into it. The aircraft struck the powerline with the left wing and windscreen cable cutter. The aircraft slid along the powerline and rolled over the top to impact the ground in a steep nose and left wing down attitude. The pilot evacuated the aircraft unassisted. Post ground impact fire destroyed the aircraft.

 
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