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Summary

Summary

The aircraft had been engaged on a target towing exercise involving live firing of ground-to-air missiles in a military restricted area north of Adelaide. The target had been deployed at the full 5240 metre extension of the cable. The aircraft and target carried out 10 tracking runs before one missile was fired at the target, without hitting either the target or the cable. After this firing the Army firing point advised the aircraft to recover the target and depart the area. The operator commenced reeling in the target as the pilot banked the aircraft 30 degrees to the left and began a climb. With 4920 metres of cable still deployed the cable tension indication fell to zero indicating that the cable had broken. The cable cutter was activated to ensure that no cable was trailing behind the aircraft and the aircraft was returned to Edinburgh. The 4920 metres of cable landed along the main street of a fishing village creating some disruption to electrical services, but without causing any other damage or injuries. The cable probably failed when the armour wrap covering a splice became jammed in the reel unit, over stressing the cable. The reel unit was serviceable and the cable had been subjected to 14 flights with no abnormal loads or stresses. The normal life of a cable is 20 flights.
 
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