Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain, VH-FXE, Pilton Valley Queensland, 29 September 2008

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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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.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 710KB]
General details
Date: 29 September 2008   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1425 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Pilton Valley    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 24 May 2010   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

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  
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 03 April 2020