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Summary

Summary

At about 1425 Western Standard Time on 22 October 2005, an Air Tractor AT-602 aircraft, registered VH-NIT, impacted terrain approximately 100 metres south of the perimeter fence of Ballidu aerodrome, WA. The pilot was carrying out a series of familiarisation flights. He was the sole occupant of the aircraft and was fatally injured.

Witnesses recalled that the aircraft had dropped a quantity of water at low level over the aerodrome. Soon after that drop, the nose of the aircraft pitched steeply towards the ground and the aircraft descended into terrain.

The aircraft impacted terrain in a slightly right wing-low, almost nose-level attitude at a high vertical rate of descent, but with low forward speed.

Examination of the wreckage did not identify any anomaly that could have affected the normal operation of the aircraft during the accident flight. Examination of the engine indicated that it was producing power at the time of terrain impact.

Toxicology testing revealed that the pilot had ingested cannabis. Specialist medical advice was that the results of the toxicology testing would be consistent with the pilot using cannabis sometime during the 24 hours prior to the accident.

The physical and witness evidence was consistent with the pilot losing control of the aircraft at low altitude, most probably as the result of an inadvertent aerodynamic stall. There was insufficient altitude to recover the aircraft to level flight.

 
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