Preliminary report released 15 July 2010

At about 0807 Eastern Standard Time on 15 June 2010, a Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave aircraft, registered VH-PGW, with a pilot and flight nurse on board, collided with terrain in a suburban area about 6 km north-west of Bankstown Airport, New South Wales. At the time, the pilot was attempting to return to Bankstown following a reported in-flight engine shutdown. Both occupants were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed by the impact forces and an intense post-impact fire.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has conducted a series of examinations of the propellers, engines and some associated engine and airframe components that were not destroyed during the impact and subsequent fire. The examination of the propellers indicated that, at the time of impact, the right propeller was in the feathered position and the left propeller was in the full fine position, which was consistent with low engine power. The examination of the engines did not find any evidence of mechanical failure. Impact and fire damage to the cockpit area resulted in most of the instruments and systems being destroyed or extensively damaged. The position of several cockpit switches was determined but an examination of the cockpit instruments was unable to determine any instrument indications at the time of impact.

The investigation is continuing and will include:

  • an ongoing examination of operational issues including pilot training and checking
  • continued analysis of recorded radar data and voice transmissions
  • an ongoing human factors review.

It is anticipated that the final investigation report will be released to the public in the first quarter of calendar year 2012.

Aircraft flight path chart

Aircraft Flight Path

click image for larger view