On the morning of 21 June 2010 the owner/pilot of a Cessna Aircraft 172N, registered VH‑UFN, departed from a private airstrip near Woolcunda Lake, New South Wales for a flight over the pilot's property. The aircraft did not return and was reported missing that afternoon. A search was initiated and, 2 days later, the aircraft was located in Woolcunda Lake.
The investigation identified that the aircraft impacted the lake in a left banking turn. Irrespective of the reason for being at low level, it is probable that the pilot misjudged the height of the aircraft above the lake's surface, or was distracted at a height from which the pilot was unable to recover before impacting the water.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau report AR‑2009-041 Avoidable Accidents No. 1: Low‑level flying addressed the dangers associated with low-level flight and in particular, the reduced time available to recover from any loss of control. This investigation provides a timely reminder of the effect on that risk of flight over expanses of flat, featureless terrain or water.
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|Date:||21 June 2010||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1000 EST||Investigation level:||Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|State:||New South Wales||Occurrence type:||Collision with terrain|
|Release date:||19 August 2011||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Fatal|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Cessna Aircraft Company|
|Type of operation||Private|
|Damage to aircraft||Substantial|
|Departure point||Woolcunda Station, NSW|
|Destination||Woolcunda Station, NSW|