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Summary

Summary

At about 1215 Eastern Standard Time on 5 October 2006, the pilot of a British Aircraft Corporation 167 Strikemaster aircraft, registered VH-AKY, took off from Bathurst, NSW, for a 25-minute adventure flight with one passenger. The flight was intended to include high-level aerobatics followed by a low-level simulated strike mission. When the aircraft failed to return, a search was initiated and the aircraft wreckage was located in the Turon State Forest about 20 km to the north-east of Bathurst. The ground impact started a fuel-fed fire that resulted in a large bushfire, which took several days to contain. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.

The engine was producing significant power at the time of impact and the wing flaps and landing gear were retracted. The right wing and tail had separated from the aircraft. Separation of the right wing was precipitated by pre-existing fatigue cracking in the right wing upper main spar attachment lug.

During the low-level simulated strike mission, the aircraft broke up in flight. The majority of the available evidence was consistent with a break-up initiated by separation of the tail surfaces leading to the separation of the weakened right wing.

As a result of this occurrence, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) briefed the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority on findings relating to the separation of the wing and tail. CASA has released a number of Airworthiness Bulletins to alert Australian operators of issues relating to Strikemaster and Jet Provost aircraft. CASA has also approved the Australian Warbirds Association Limited to administer aircraft operating under the Limited Category.

 
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