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Summary

Summary

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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