On 18 April 2011 at about 1320 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of Eagle Aircraft DW-1 bi-plane aircraft, registered VH-FTB (FTB), departed the Ingham authorised landing area (ALA) to conduct aerial agricultural work about 28 km to the south.
During the second application run, FTB impacted a tree with the right lower wing leading edge. The tree was void of foliage and stood to the foreground of other leaved trees, making it difficult to see from ground level.
The pilot was able to control FTB and fly the aircraft to an adjacent field where it landed in an upright position. On contact with the ground, FTB cart- wheeled before coming to rest. The pilot sustained serious injuries to the head, back and right leg. The aircraft was seriously damaged.
The accident highlights the inherent risks associated with operating at low-level, the need for quick decision making and the importance of adequate safety equipment.