Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna Aircraft Company T188C, VH-NAB

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


This Occurrence Brief has been compiled from information obtained from the pilot and aircraft operator. The ATSB did not conduct an on-site investigation.

The Cessna 188 was being used to spread insecticide over a cotton crop. Soon after takeoff, and as the pilot was setting the aircraft up to conduct the initial spray run, the aircraft descended from a steep turn, into the crop and impacted heavily. Although the aircraft was substantially damaged, the pilot was not hurt. The weather conditions were CAVOK (cloud ceiling, visibility and general weather were suitable for visual flight) with a variable wind of about 3 to 5 kts. The temperature was reported as being about 26 degrees C.

The pilot gained an agricultural rating 8 months prior to the accident and had accumulated about 36 hours agricultural flying experience before the accident. She had about 15 hours experience on the aircraft type and was operating under the supervision of an experienced agricultural pilot.

The pilot reported the following information:
The aircraft had been loaded to within 0.6 kg of the maximum takeoff weight.
Following the takeoff, the aircraft 'felt heavy' but was climbing adequately.
During a steep turn towards the direction of the initial spray run, the aircraft began descending towards the ground.
The wings were levelled and full power applied but the engine did not appear to deliver full power.
Further turns were made to avoid wires and trees and then as the aircraft continued descending the wings were rolled level before the aircraft hit the ground.

A subsequent engineering inspection by the operator revealed that one of the magnetos had no defects, but the other magneto had badly worn or burnt breaker points. No other defects were found during the engineering inspection. The operator's engineering assessment determined that it was unlikely that the faulty magneto would have affected the ability of the engine to deliver full power.

The investigation could not determine why the aircraft failed to remain airborne, although the steep turn at high weight may have been a factor in the accident.

General details
Date: 14 March 2003   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1230 hours ESuT    
Location   (show map): 65 km SW Moree, (NDB)    
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 10 June 2003   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 188  
Aircraft registration VH-NAB  
Serial number T18803891T  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Krui Station, NSW  
Departure time 1229 hours ESuT  
Destination Krui Station, NSW  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 15.0 274
Last update 13 May 2014