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At about 1040 Eastern Standard Time on 2 January 2006, a Cessna Aircraft Company U206 aircraft, registered VH-UYB, took off from the parachuting centre at Willowbank, Qld on a tandem parachuting flight. On board the aircraft were the pilot and six parachutists.

The surviving Tandem Master parachutist, who was also a private pilot, reported that, at about 100 ft, the aircraft performed as if the power had been 'pulled back'. The aircraft was observed to bank right, before it impacted a tree and became submerged in a dam.

The aircraft was destroyed and five persons on board received fatal injuries or were drowned. The two survivors received serious injuries.

Technical examination and test of the aircraft's engine and its associated components did not reveal any anomalies with the potential to have individually contributed to the partial engine power loss. However, the investigation could not discount the potential that:

  • a number of less significant anomalies that were identified during the engine and components examination may have coincided to reduce the available engine power, or
  • there may have been an anomaly of the engine or its components present during the accident flight that was not apparent during the subsequent disassembly, examination and testing of the engine and its components.

As a result of this investigation, the Australian Parachute Federation (APF) has addressed a number of safety concerns. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) initiated safety action to clarify Airworthiness Directive AD/ENG/4 and the intent of Airworthiness Bulletin AWB 02-003 Issue 2. In addition, CASA is reviewing elements of the various training syllabi and supporting documentation affecting the management of engine and partial engine power loss after takeoff.

As a result of this investigation, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has issued seven safety recommendations related to airworthiness bulletins, regulations, parachutists' safety and survivability, aircraft maintenance documentation and pilot training in emergency procedures.

Aviation Safety Recommendations

20070027 | 20070028 | 20070029 | 20070030 | 20070031 | 20070032 | 20070033

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