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Summary

Summary

On the morning of 24 September 2005, a Raytheon Aircraft Company Beechcraft A-36 Bonanza, registered VH-BKM, was being flown by the owner pilot on a private flight from Murwillumbah, NSW, to Coonabarabran, NSW, with one passenger. The pilot had not submitted a flight plan or nominated a SARTIME and there was no requirement to do so.

The aircraft was reported to be missing on 28 September 2005 and a search was then commenced. The wreckage of the aircraft was located on 29 September 2005. The aircraft had impacted a heavily timbered hill on a private property 'Millera', located approximately 35 km east of Tenterfield. The aircraft had been destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire and both occupants were fatally injured. Witnesses reported clear weather in the vicinity of the accident site.

The recorded radar data indicated that the aircraft was maintaining a stable heading and altitude which was consistent with the autopilot having been engaged. The aircraft then descended from a cruising altitude of 6,500 ft above mean sea level (AMSL) to a final recorded altitude of 3,800 ft AMSL, at a rate of approximately 5000 ft/min.

The pilot was 71 years old and held both commercial and private pilot licenses for aeroplanes with a valid Class 2 medical. The maintenance records indicated that the aircraft had a valid maintenance release which was issued on 27 January 2005.

Weight and balance calculations showed that the aircraft was within centre of gravity limits for the final flight.  Discolouration of tree foliage at the accident site and the extent of the post-impact fire indicated that fuel was present when the accident occurred.

The accident is consistent with the pilot becoming incapacitated, the aircraft departing controlled flight and subsequently impacting terrain. The possible reasons for any incapacitation could not be determined.

 
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