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Summary

Summary

The pilot had set up a small business conducting charter flights and towing advertising banners with his four-place aircraft. For 18 months he had operated from the airstrip near Dunwich, located in a shallow valley. The surrounding sand hills are timbered and shelter the strip from the full effects of the prevailing south-easterly winds.

Two families had earlier arranged a joy flight for three of their children. Due to adverse weather conditions, the pilot twice cancelled the proposed flight. On the day of the accident, the families met the pilot at Dunwich airstrip. He was waiting, standing near his aircraft with its engine running. After a short safety briefing, the passengers were seated and strapped in. The aircraft taxied to the northern end of the 800-metre airstrip where it held its position presumably while the pilot conducted pre-takeoff checks. Witnesses heard the engine RPM change several times before the take-off roll commenced.

Witnesses reported that following a short take-off run, the aircraft climbed steeply at an angle of approximately 30 degrees. At top of climb, about 250 ft above ground level, the aircraft banked steeply to the left. The nose of the aircraft fell below the horizon during the left turn which continued through 150 degrees. The aircraft struck the ground, in a 50-degrees nose-low attitude, in low scrub 120 metres east of the airstrip. A fuel fire started almost immediately. The parents of the passengers and other bystanders ran several hundred metres to the crash site. Despite their efforts they were unable to free the occupants from the distorted structure. An intense fire drove them back and eventually burnt out the remains of the cabin.

 
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