Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - 2 km west of Esperance Aerodrome, WA, 26 May 2007, VH-FTT, Piper Aircraft Corp PA28RT-201

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 26 May 2007 at about 1644 Western Standard Time, a Piper Aircraft Corp PA-28RT-201 aircraft, registered VH-FTT, departed Jandakot Airport for Esperance, WA. On board the private, visual flight rules (VFR) flight were the non-instrument-rated owner-pilot, and two passenger friends.

The flight arrived at Esperance about 1 hour and 40 minutes after last light, and in marginal weather conditions. The aircraft impacted the ground on what appeared to be a right base for runway 11. There were no survivors.

There was no evidence of any technical defect or other failure of the aeroplane, or of its associated systems, prior to the impact with terrain. That, and the normal operation of the approach and landing aids, and apparent activation of the aerodrome lighting, suggested that the most likely factors that contributed to the development of the occurrence related to the operation of the aircraft.

The investigation was unable to conclusively establish the reason for the impact with terrain. The investigation could not exclude the possibility of a sudden incapacitation of the pilot due to a cardiac condition. However, the weather conditions enroute to, and in the vicinity of Esperance were such that the pilot's decision to attempt the flight indicated a low appreciation, or an acceptance, of the associated risks. The attempted approach and landing under those conditions represented a significant level of risk for any flight attempted under the night VFR.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 397KB]
General details
Date: 26 May 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0815 WST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Esperance Aerodrome    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 17 October 2008   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28  
Aircraft registration VH-FTT  
Serial number 28R-7918047  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Jandakot, WA  
Departure time 1644  
Destination Esperance, WA  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Private 1200 1676.6
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 2 0 3
Total: 1 2 0 3
Last update 03 April 2020