Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan, VH-DQP, Flinders Island, Tasmania, 15 October 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 15 October 2010, the pilot of a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan, registered VH-DQP, was conducting a charter flight from Lady Barron, Flinders Island to Bridport, Tasmania with six passengers on board. The aircraft departed Lady Barron Aerodrome at about 1700 Australian Eastern Daylight-saving Time and entered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) several minutes afterwards while climbing to the intended cruising altitude of about 1,500 ft. The pilot did not hold a command instrument rating and the aircraft was not equipped for flight in IMC. He attempted to turn the aircraft to return to Lady Barron Aerodrome but became lost, steering instead towards high ground in the Strzelecki National Park in the south-east of Flinders Island.

At about 1715, the aircraft exited cloud in the Strzelecki National Park, very close to the ground. The pilot turned to the left, entering a small valley in which he could neither turn the aircraft nor out climb the terrain. He elected to slow the aircraft to its stalling speed for a forced landing and, moments later, it impacted the tree tops and then the ground. The first passenger to exit the aircraft used the aircraft fire extinguisher to put out a small fire that had begun beneath the engine. The other passengers and the pilot then exited the aircraft safely. One passenger was slightly injured during the impact; the pilot and other passengers were uninjured.

During the night, all of the occupants of the aircraft were rescued by helicopter and taken to the hospital in Whitemark, Flinders Island.

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Alternate: [Download  DOC: 4.89MB]


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General details
Date: 15 October 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1710 ESuT   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Flinders Island    
State: Tasmania   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 12 May 2011   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model GA8  
Aircraft registration VH-DQP  
Serial number GA8-05-075  
Type of operation Charter  
Departure point Lady Barron, Flinders Island, Tas.  
Destination Bridport, Tas.  
Last update 03 April 2020