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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.

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Download Preliminary Report
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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.

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General details
Date: 18 March 2008 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1115 ESuT  
Location   (show map):Camden Airport E/6 km  Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
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 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Pitts Aviation Enterprises 
Aircraft model: S-2 
Aircraft registration: VH-NUK 
Serial number: 2116 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Bankstown Airport, NSW
Departure time:1030
Destination:Bankstown Airport, NSW
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
Pilot-in-CommandCommercial174800
Other CrewPrivate225520
 
Injuries
 CrewPassengerGroundTotal
Fatal: 1001
Minor: 1001
Total:2002
 
 
 
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Last update 14 November 2018