Aviation safety investigations & reports

Technical assistance to Recreational Aviation Australia - recovery of data from aircraft instrumentation after collision with terrain, Hughes Lightwing SP2000 aircraft, registration 24-5040 near North Curl Curl, NSW, 2 September 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


On 2 September 2011, a Howard Hughes Engineering Lightwing SP-2000 aircraft, registered 24-5040, was being operated on a private flight with the pilot and one passenger on-board. While operating to the north of Sydney Harbour, witnesses observed the aircraft descend and impact the water adjacent to the North Curl Curl shoreline. The aircraft was destroyed by the forces of the collision and one of the two occupants was fatally injured.

Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus) is assisting the New South Wales Police Service with their investigation of this occurrence. Following recovery of the aircraft wreckage, RA-Aus officers requested assistance from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in the recovery of data from some of the aircraft's electronic instrumentation systems and portable navigation devices. To facilitate this work, the ATSB initiated an investigation under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

In summary, four devices in total were examined by the ATSB. Raw data was successfully recovered from a portable GPS navigation unit and a fuel monitoring instrument, however ATSB analysis showed that neither data set contained usable information that was relevant to the accident flight. The data from both units was provided to RA-Aus on 26 October 2011 and the instrumentation returned on 2 April 2012.



Released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

General details
Date: 02 September 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1015 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): North Curl Curl    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 24 April 2012   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Howard Hughes Engineering P/L  
Aircraft model SP-2000  
Aircraft registration 24-5040  
Type of operation Unknown  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Ballina, NSW  
Destination Wedderburn, NSW  
Last update 03 April 2020