Aviation safety investigations & reports

Wirestike - Air Tractor AT-802, VH-NIW, 5 km N of Mogumber, WA, 26 August 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 26 August 2011, at about 1545 Western Standard Time, an Air Tractor Inc. AT-802, registered VH-NIW, struck power lines and impacted terrain, during agricultural spraying operations.

Earlier that day, the pilot had commenced the first of six agricultural spraying flights. At mid-morning, he was approached by a farmer to carry out an unscheduled spraying operation of wheat paddocks next to a main road. The farmer supplied the pilot with a map of the fields to spray, which included the location of two powerlines.

On reaching the property, the pilot commenced his field inspection and identified the two powerlines and paddocks marked on the farmer's map. At the same time, he noticed vehicle traffic on the main road located next to the spraying area and a third set of powerlines.

The pilot noted a break in the traffic and commenced the spraying operation. When about 300 m into the paddock, the aircraft struck an unseen fourth set of powerlines. The aircraft's engine lost power and impacted terrain in a neighbouring paddock. The aircraft sustained serious damage and the pilot was not injured.

This accident highlights the vital role hazard identification plays, particularly when operating at low-level, and how distractions can impact operations. It is a reminder that distractions are not unique to any one type of operation and that no pilot is immune.

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 4.43MB]
General details
Date: 26 August 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1545 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 5 km N of Mogumber    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Wirestrike  
Release date: 14 March 2012   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Air Tractor Inc  
Aircraft model AT802  
Aircraft registration VH-NIW  
Serial number 802-0300  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Departure point Newdale, WA  
Destination Newdale, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018