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Summary

Summary

A Cessna 150,VH-FPS, was being used to muster sheep near Dalgety Downs Station. The pilot was communicating by radio with the ground party and had called in one of the party to help with a mob of sheep. A ground party member reported that the aircraft flew past him at about 80-100 ft above the ground before commencing a sharp turn to the right. During the turn the aircraft descended into the ground and caught fire. The pilot received fatal injuries. There was no evidence that the aircraft or engine had been affected by any mechanical fault before colliding with the ground.

About two months prior to the accident, the pilot's employer had arranged for the pilot to receive mustering endorsement training, which included low flying. Subsequent to the accident, the company that conducted the training reported that they had verbally advised the employer that the mustering training could not be carried out, and that only the low-flying portion of the endorsement had been completed. The documentation provided by the training company to the operator indicated that the pilot had only been given a low flying approval. The pilot's low flying training had been conducted in FPS. A review of the aircraft documentation indicated that the hours flown during the training period had been insufficient to permit both the completion of the low flying and stock-mustering training. There was no evidence to indicate that the pilot had completed aerial stock-mustering training.

Approval to conduct aerial stock mustering requires certification that an applicant has completed both low flying and aerial stock mustering training. The approval certificate at appendix II of Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 29.10 was designed to indicate that the applicant pilot had successfully completed the required training, and qualified to conduct aerial stock mustering. The approval certificate had two sections. The first section was to record that the required low flying training had been completed. The second section was to record that mustering training had been completed and the applicant was competent to conduct mustering operations.

The low flying approval certificate issued by the training organisation may have been inappropriate because it was not derived from the CAO current at the time, and because it recorded that the pilot had only undergone low flying training. There was no reference to stock-mustering training on the certificate used. Therefore, the certificate could not have been considered a stock-mustering approval. It appears that the operator did not review the CAO under which the low flying approval was awarded. Had he done so, it would have been evident that stock-mustering endorsement training had not been certified and that the pilot was not qualified to conduct stock-mustering operations.

The investigation could not determine why the aircraft descended into the ground during the turn.

 
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