On 18 March 2008, at approximately 1115 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, a Pitts S-2A aircraft struck two trees before impacting the ground beside the Northern Road, 7 km north-east of Camden, NSW, fatally injuring the occupant of the rear cockpit.
The occupant of the rear cockpit (the candidate), an experienced aerobatic pilot, was undergoing a routine flight review with an instructor. In the instructor's judgment, the candidate flew well during the flight review until a practice forced landing (PFL) manouvre just before the accident.
During the PFL, the candidate stopped responding to instructions and commands, so the instructor took control of the aircraft. A powerful nose-up force began acting on the control column and, despite the instructor's efforts to control the aircraft, it entered an incipient aerodynamic stall. The instructor recovered the aircraft from the stall but, as consequence of the nose-up force, this came too late to prevent a collision with trees.
No evidence of any mechanical problem with the aircraft was found. Post mortem examination of the candidate found he had severe heart disease.
Expert medical opinion considered it likely that the candidate suffered an incapacitating event as a result of his heart disease, and that the incapacitating event probably led to him exerting a force on the control column. The nose-up force prevented complete control by the instructor, delayed recovery from the stall, and led to the impact with trees.
Preliminary report released 16 May 2008
On 18 March 2008, at approximately 1115 Eastern Daylight-saving Time (EDT), a Pitts S-2A aircraft struck two trees before impacting the ground beside the Northern Road, 7 km NE of Camden, NSW, fatally injuring the occupant of the rear cockpit.
|Date:||18 March 2008||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1115 ESuT||Investigation level:||Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||Camden Airport E/6 km|
|State:||New South Wales||Occurrence type:||Flight crew incapacitation|
|Release date:||10 February 2009||Occurrence class:||Operational|
|Report status:||Final||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Highest injury level:||Fatal|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Pitts Aviation Enterprises|
|Type of operation||Private|
|Damage to aircraft||Destroyed|
|Departure point||Bankstown Airport, NSW|
|Destination||Bankstown Airport, NSW|
|Role||Class of licence||Hours on type||Hours total|