Aviation safety investigations & reports

Amateur Built Aircraft LANCAIR 320, VH-DNO

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


The owner of Lancair, VH-DNO, was in the process of selling his aircraft. He had arranged to meet some prospective purchasers at Mildura, and had flown from Maroochydore that morning so that the purchasers could inspect and fly the aircraft with him. He started the flight early in the morning and arrived in Mildura at lunch time. The day was warm and, as the top of the cockpit was transparent, the cockpit would also have been very warm. The pilot stated that he had consciously limited his fluid intake during the flight as the duration of each leg was fairly long.

Two people who had travelled to Mildura for the aircraft inspection were considering purchasing the aircraft together. When the vendor arrived at Mildura, he joined the two prospective purchasers in the airport terminal, where he drank some water and ate some fruit. As they discussed the aircraft, one of the purchasers emphasised his interest in the aircraft's take-off and landing performance and low speed handling characteristics. After about half an hour, the purchasers agreed which one would go for the first test flight and they went out to the aircraft. The vendor sat in the left (command) seat and the purchaser sat in the right (passenger) seat; both seats had functioning flight controls.

Approximately half an hour later, a witness who was working in a vineyard saw the aircraft flying straight and level, with power changing regularly from a high power setting to idle. A short time later, the witness looked up again when an unusual noise attracted his attention. He saw the aircraft descending in a spin and disappear behind a hill. Shortly after, he heard a sound consistent with the aircraft impacting the ground.

The aircraft had impacted the ground at high speed, in straight flight, with wings level and a steep nose down angle. Both occupants received fatal injuries. No indication was found of any pre-existing defect in the aircraft or the engine prior to the accident. The landing gear and the flaps were extended at the time of the accident.

The circumstances of the accident were consistent with a loss of control during a demonstration of the handling characteristics of the aircraft at low speed with landing gear and flaps extended. The aircraft entered a spin for reasons that could not be determined. The circumstances were consistent with the spin rotation having been arrested and the aircraft impacting the ground as it was accelerating during the pull out from a dive at the end of a spin recovery.

General details
Date: 13 March 2001   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1509 hours ESuT    
Location   (show map): Nangiloc    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 13 June 2001   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Amateur Built Aircraft  
Aircraft model Lancair  
Aircraft registration VH-DNO  
Serial number Q058  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Mildura, VIC  
Destination Mildura, VIC  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Private 550.0 1167
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 1 0 2
Total: 1 1 0 2
Last update 13 May 2014