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At about 1440 Eastern Standard Time on 29 September 2008, the pilot of a Piper Aircraft PA36-375 Pawnee Brave, registered VH-FXE, was conducting aerial baiting operations in the Pilton Valley, Queensland when the aircraft collided with terrain. The aircraft was seriously damaged by impact forces and a post-impact, fuel and magnesium-fed fire. The pilot was fatally injured.

The pilot had flown the aircraft for about 3 hours that day, conducting baiting operations at a number of properties in the region.

The investigation found that the topography of the area in which the pilot was operating, and the strong gusty wind conditions at the time, probably resulted in turbulence that increased the hazardous nature of the low-level application task.

It is likely that the pilot lost control of the aircraft as a result of that turbulence, at a height from which recovery was not possible before the aircraft struck the ground.

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General details
Date: 29 September 2008 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1425 EST  
Location   (show map):Pilton Valley Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 24 May 2010 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-36 
Aircraft registration: VH-FXE 
Serial number: 36-7902011 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Clifton, Qld
Destination:Pilton Valley, Qld
Fatal: 1001
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Last update 14 November 2018