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Analysis

Summary

The circumstances of the accident were consistent with the student becoming disorientated after take-off, possibly associated with the change in aircraft configuration during completion of the after take-off checklist.

The student was in the early phase of his night flying training and, although he reported that an unserviceable attitude indicator had contributed to his disorientation, he had only limited instrument flying experience. He had not completed the training required in the operator's syllabus prior to commencing night flying and, most probably, had not developed his instrument flying skills to the standard normally required for this stage of training.

The dual check immediately before the accident flight had been conducted only a short time after last light and possibly, when there was still some external visual reference available.

Although the student received a short rest break before commencing the accident flight, he had been in attendance at the aerodrome for most of the day and recently had returned from an extended navigation exercise. Accordingly, it is possible that fatigue had also affected the student's performance and his ability to maintain control of the aircraft with reference to the flight instruments.

 
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