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Analysis

Summary

It is possible that the pilot may have intended to initially conduct an inspection flight to locate the missing cattle, however, after locating the cattle the nature of the flight changed to a mustering role and safety precautions normally carried out prior to mustering operations were not taken.

Visual cues, such as power poles, assist in the detection of wires. In this instance, the poles would have been partially obscured to the pilot's view by terrain and trees. Additionally, the angle subtended by the widely spaced poles would have placed them more towards the pilot's peripheral vision where they would have been less likely to be noticed.

The only visual cue to the pilot would have been the single-wire conductor. Even in bright sunlight conditions, a conductor dulled by oxidation would not have been readily discerned. In order for the pilot to have seen and avoided the powerline, he needed to be at the correct focal distance and looking directly at the wire.

Pilots operating at a low height should not rely on being able to see a powerline in time to take avoiding action.

 
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