Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aeronca 7A-C, VH-HXY, 5 km S Tanunda SA, 29 July 1990

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft had been flown twice that day prior to the accident flight. No problems or unserviceabilities had been reported. The purpose of this flight was to take a youth for a joy flight and the passenger emplaned while the engine was still running after the previous flight. After takeoff, the aircraft was seen by several witnesses to fly low over the strip and adjoining areas before starting a manoeuvre at low level which resulted in the aircraft apparently stalling. The aircraft was then seen to rotate several times before crashing in a near vertical attitude through several branches of a large tree. Witnesses ran to the aircraft and found the pilot dead but they were able to free the surviving passenger from the rear seat. It would appear that at the time of the accident, the pilot was carrying out some form of impromptu display at low level or "showing off". The investigation established that the pilot was want, at times, to show off or enjoy "pushing it" or taking an aircraft to its limits. Although it was not possible to determine the exact manoeuvre performed by the pilot which lead to his loss of control, there is no doubt that he carried out a manoeuvre at low level that resulted in the aircraft stalling at a height insufficient for recovery. Such a manoeuvre was apparently induced by the pilot rather than as a result of his experiencing a problem with the aircraft. No faults or anomalies were detected in the aircraft that could have contributed to the accident. All witness evidence is consistent in that the "spin" or spiral occurred after the aircraft entered the turn at low level. During his earlier flight in the aircraft that day, the pilot was reported to have performed aerobatic manoeuvres. The aircraft was not certified for aerobatic flight and no record was found of the pilot holding an endorsement to perform aerobatic manoeuvres.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 24KB]
General details
Date: 29 July 1990   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1548    
Location: 5 km S Tanunda    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 05 November 1990   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Aeronca Incorporated  
Aircraft model 7A-C  
Aircraft registration VH-HXY  
Serial number 7A-C-5530  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Rowland Flat SA  
Departure time 1540  
Destination Rowland Flat SA  
Last update 13 May 2014