Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with water - Approx 24 km SE Inverloch, VIC, 17 November 2007, Cessna C337G, VH-CHU

Investigation number:
AO-2007-061
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

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On 17 November 2007, the owner-pilot of a Cessna Aircraft Company C337G (Skymaster), registered VH-CHU, was conducting a private flight in accordance with the visual flight rules (VFR) from Moorabbin Airport, Vic. to Merimbula, NSW. The pilot, who was accompanied by three passengers, had indicated that he would be tracking along the coast. The aircraft did not arrive at Merimbula and on 19 November 2007 aircraft wreckage and three of the deceased occupants were found on a beach between Venus Bay and Cape Liptrap, Vic. Wreckage was found on the beach and in the sea off the beach. There were no survivors.

The investigation found that while manoeuvring over water at low level in conditions of reduced visibility, the pilot probably became spatially disorientated and inadvertently descended into the water. A contributing factor was the pilot's lack of instrument flying qualification and minimal instrument flying training and experience.

While not a contributing safety factor, the aircraft was probably operated outside its specified weight and balance limits in the early stages of the flight, which had the potential to adversely affect the aircraft's performance and controllability. The operation of visual flight rules flights into instrument meteorological conditions (VFR into IMC) continues to be a significant risk factor in general aviation, but there are a number of countermeasures which can be used to reduce the risk.

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Preliminary

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Preliminary report released 27 April 2008

On 17 November 2007, the owner-pilot of a Cessna Aircraft Company C337G (Skymaster), registered VH-CHU, was conducting a private flight in accordance with the visual flight rules from Moorabbin Airport, Vic. to Merimbula, NSW. The pilot, who was accompanied by three passengers, had indicated that he would be tracking along the coast. The aircraft did not arrive at Merimbula and on 19 November 2007 aircraft wreckage and three of the deceased occupants were found on a beach between Venus Bay and Cape Liptrap, Vic. Some wreckage was later found in the sea, off the beach. There were no survivors.

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General details
Date: 17 November 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: Unknown ESuT   Investigation level: Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 24 km SE Inverloch    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 05 January 2009   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 337  
Aircraft registration VH-CHU  
Serial number 33701773  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Moorabbin, Vic  
Departure time 1211  
Destination Merimbula, NSW  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Private 10
 
Injuries
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 3 0 4
Total: 1 3 0 4
Last update 14 November 2018