On 20 June 2007, at approximately 0615 Western Standard Time, a Cessna Aircraft Company C208 Caravan float plane, registered VH‑NRT, departed Broome Airport, WA on a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) charter flight to Talbot Bay. On board the aircraft were the pilot and 10 passengers.
About 35 to 40 minutes into the flight, the weather conditions deteriorated and the pilot elected to discontinue the flight and return to Broome. During the return flight, the aircraft entered an area of reduced in-flight visibility that resulted in the loss of the visual horizon.
Whilst manoeuvring the aircraft to regain visual meteorological conditions (VMC), the pilot became disoriented. The pilot made a general radio broadcast requesting assistance, which was intercepted by the crew of another aircraft who then provided advice and reassurance to the pilot. The pilot was able to regain control of the aircraft and, shortly after, resume the remainder of the flight.
The approach to Broome required the non-instrument-rated pilot to descend through cloud before becoming visual and landing.
This incident highlighted the risks of inadvertent flight into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) and of the recovery from those conditions, particularly in respect of a pilot that does not hold an instrument rating.
Aviation Safety Recommendations
|Date:||20 June 2007||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||0720 WST||Investigation level:||Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||83 km NE Broome|
|State:||Western Australia||Occurrence type:||Loss of control|
|Release date:||01 May 2008||Occurrence category:||Serious Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||None|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Cessna Aircraft Company|
|Type of operation||Charter|
|Damage to aircraft||Nil|
|Departure point||Broome, WA|
|Destination||Talbot Bay, WA|