Aviation safety investigations & reports

Mid-air collision - 10 km NE of Wee Waa, NSW, 26 February 2008

Investigation number:
AO-2008-014
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

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At about 0930 Eastern Daylight-saving Time on 26 February 2008, an Air Tractor Inc. 502, registered VH-CJK (CJK) that was aerial spraying 10 km north-east of Wee Waa, New South Wales and an Air Tractor Inc. 502B, registered VH-ATB (ATB) that had just departed from a nearby airstrip, collided at about 200 ft above ground level. The pilot of CJK was fatally injured and the pilot of ATB was seriously injured. Both aircraft were seriously damaged. Neither pilot was aware of the other aircraft and, although visibility at the time of the accident was reported as 'good', either one or both pilots did not see the other aircraft in sufficient time to avoid a collision.

The limitations of an unalerted visual traffic scan could explain why both pilots may not have seen the other aircraft but, without the knowledge of one another's intended operations they lacked situational awareness. Generally, agricultural pilots relied on visual separation and vertical segregation to avoid collisions. In this instance, the proximity of the field being sprayed to the airstrip from which ATB took off and the aircraft's climb gradient from that airstrip, brought the two aircraft into conflict.

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Preliminary

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Preliminary report 11 June 2008

At 0930 Eastern Daylight-saving Time on 26 February 2008, Air Tractor Inc. 502 registered VH-CJK (CJK), whose pilot was engaged in the aerial spraying of a field approximately 10 km NE of Wee Waa township, NSW, and Air Tractor Inc. 502B registered VH-ATB (ATB), that had just departed from an airstrip approximately 13 km north-east of Wee Waa, collided. The pilot of CJK was fatally injured and the aircraft destroyed by collision forces with the other aircraft and by ground impact. It did not catch fire. The pilot of ATB was seriously injured and the aircraft destroyed by collision forces with the other aircraft, ground impact, and a post impact fire.

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General details
Date: 26 February 2008   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0930 ESuT   Investigation level: Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Wee Waa    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Airborne collision  
Release date: 26 July 2010   Occurrence class: Airspace  
Report status: Final   Occurrence category: Accident  
  Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Air Tractor Inc  
Aircraft model AT502  
Aircraft registration VH-CJK  
Serial number 502-0057  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point ALA 4.5 km SW Wee Waa NSW  
Departure time 0920  
Destination ALA 4.5 km SW Wee Waa NSW  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 3497 14 078

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Air Tractor Inc  
Aircraft model AT502  
Aircraft registration VH-ATB  
Serial number 502B-0287  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point ALA 13 km NE Wee Waa NSW  
Departure time 0928  
Destination ALA 13 km NE Wee Waa NSW  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 6000 8875
 
Injuries
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 0 0 1
Serious: 1 0 0 1
Total: 2 0 0 2
Last update 14 November 2018