Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Wynella Station, Qld, VH-BQN

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 6 January 2005, the pilot of an Air Tractor AT-802A aircraft, registered VH-BQN, was spraying insecticide on a cotton crop on Wynella Station, 41 km south of Dirranbandi, Qld. The aircraft departed the station airstrip at about 2005 Eastern Standard Time to commence spraying operations and impacted the ground at 2035. The pilot was fatally injured, and the aircraft was destroyed by fire.

There was no evidence that the aircraft was not capable of normal operation at the time of the accident. The pilot had substantial agricultural and general flying experience, but had only recently completed night agricultural flight training. The accident occurred after the end of nautical twilight, there was no moon, and there was a band of cloud over Wynella station. There was virtually no ground lighting in the area. Post-mortem examination identified severe atherosclerotic narrowing of all three coronary arteries.

The lack of recorded and witness information, and the destruction of the cockpit by fire, prevented the investigation from conclusively identifying the factors that contributed to the development of the accident. However, the combination of pilot inexperience in night agricultural operations and the dark night conditions increased the risk of an accident.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 305KB]
General details
Date: 06 January 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2035 EST    
Location   (show map): 2.7 km ESE Wynella Station    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 26 April 2007   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Air Tractor Inc  
Aircraft model AT802  
Aircraft registration VH-BQN  
Serial number 802A-0085  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Wynella Station, Qld  
Departure time 2005 EST  
Destination Wynella Station, Qld  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 62 3317.7
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 16 February 2016