Aviation safety investigations & reports

Crew Incapacitation - SOCATA TB-10 Tobago, VH-YTF, 19 Km W Renmark Aerodrome SA, 27 Dec 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 27 December 2010, a SOCATA TB-10 Tobago aircraft, registered VH-YTF, was being operated on a solo flying training exercise. The planned exercise was from Parafield, South Australia to Mildura, Victoria, then overflying Remark, Swan Reach, and returning to Parafield. On climb out of Renmark, the pilot reported feeling hot and began to sweat. He checked that the cabin heat was selected off and the cabin air vents were open and climbed to 6,500 ft to allow cooler air into the aircraft.

The pilot reported that he lost consciousness in the climb with the aircraft auto-pilot engaged in heading mode and the elevator pitch setting trimmed for the climb attitude.

It is estimated that the pilot remained unconscious for approximately 55 minutes. The aircraft remained on a heading of 2340 magnetic and climbed to 8,000 ft before descending again to 6,500 ft.

The pilot regained consciousness approximately 12 NM (22 km) south-west of Adelaide Airport and responded to a radio call from Adelaide Radar. He was issued a clearance to return to Parafield Airport.

Subsequent medical examinations could not find the cause of the loss of consciousness. The pilot's medical certificate was subsequently suspended.

Both the ATSB and Civil Aerospace Medical Institute of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration have conducted recent research into pilot incapacitation. The reports conclude that medical incapacitation is a rare event. The most common causes of loss of consciousness were gastrointestinal, neurological, cardiac and urological events.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 2.6MB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 5.49MB]
General details
Date: 27 December 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1635   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Renmark Aerodrome, W M 19Km    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Flight crew incapacitation  
Release date: 16 May 2011   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer S.O.C.A.T.A.-Groupe Aerospatiale  
Aircraft model TB  
Aircraft registration VH-YTF  
Serial number 1406  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Renmark, SA  
Destination Parafield, SA  
Last update 14 November 2018