On 23 February 2007, the owner-pilot of a Van's Aircraft Inc RV-4 aircraft, registered VH-ZGH, was observed conducting aerobatic manoeuvres in the designated Moorabbin aerobatic area over Clyde North. At approximately 1740 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, witnesses observed the aircraft descending in a spin after completing a stall turn. The aircraft then appeared to enter an unstable spiral dive and, at approximately 500 m above the ground, pieces were observed separating from the aircraft. The aircraft was seen to impact the ground almost vertically and was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire. Both occupants were fatally injured.
The investigation found that the pilot probably lost control of the aircraft performing an aerobatic manoeuvre, and entered a spin from which he was unable to recover. The investigation also found that the pilot performed manoeuvres in an aircraft that was loaded above the maximum weight limit for aerobatic flight, and with the centre of gravity outside the rear limit.
Preliminary report released 8 May 2007
On 23 February 2007, at approximately 1710 Eastern
Daylight-saving Time, a Van's Aircraft Inc. RV-4 aircraft,
registered VH-ZGH, took off from Essendon Airport, Victoria, with
the owner-pilot and one passenger on board. The flight was to the
designated Moorabbin aerobatic area over Clyde North.
At approximately 1740, witnesses reported observing the aircraft descending in a spin after completing an aerobatic manoeuvre. The aircraft engine was heard to gain power during the spin and the aircraft speed rapidly increased. The aircraft was then seen to enter into, what appeared to be, an unstable spiral dive.
At approximately 1,500 ft above the ground, witnesses reported that the engine noise was very high-pitched and loud, and objects were seen to separate from the aircraft. The rapid spiral descent continued and the aircraft was observed to impact the ground almost vertically. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.
|Date:||23 February 2007||Investigation status:||Completed|
|State:||Victoria||Occurrence type:||Loss of control|
|Release date:||11 February 2008||Occurrence class:||Operational|
|Report status:||Final||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Highest injury level:||Fatal|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Amateur Built Aircraft|
|Aircraft model||Vans RV-4|
|Type of operation||Sports Aviation|
|Damage to aircraft||Destroyed|
|Departure point||Essendon, Vic|
|Departure time||1710 ESuT|
|Role||Class of licence||Hours on type||Hours total|