Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Cessna Aircraft Company 182P, VH-WTS, 53 km east-north-east of Cunnamulla, QLD, 19 June 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 19 June 2012, at about 0815 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna Aircraft Company 182P aircraft, registered VH-WTS, departed Mayvale Station, about 53 km east-north-east from Cunnamulla, Queensland. Shortly after becoming airborne, the pilot recalled the aircraft losing airspeed and then clipping a tree during the subsequent forced landing. The aircraft collided with the ground and came to rest inverted.

The pilot, the only occupant, was seriously injured and the aircraft was destroyed. The pilot was wearing a seat belt at the time, but had not used the shoulder harness. The pilot and aircraft were located about 3 hours after the accident following a search. The aircraft’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) had not activated and the pilot’s personal ELT was inaccessible.

The day before the accident flight, the pilot refuelled the aircraft from drum stock kept as an emergency fuel supply. The pilot did not test the drum fuel for water or contamination. Following the accident, a considerable amount of water was found in a number of fuel samples taken from the aircraft, and in a sample taken from the drum.

This accident highlights a number of safety messages, including that:

  • pre-flight checks, including checking samples from all fuel drain points, are a vital barrier in reducing the likelihood of power loss after takeoff;
  • aviation fuel stored in drums should be checked before use for water and other contaminants;
  • aircraft occupants should fasten available restraints, both seat belt and shoulder harness, where provided, for takeoff and landing;
  • pilots are encouraged to leave a flight note with a responsible person as discussed in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP); and
  • survival equipment should be carried on the person so that it is readily available when most needed.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 12

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 150KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 2.92MB]
General details
Date: 19 June 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0815 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 53 km east-north-east Cunnamulla    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Fuel contamination  
Release date: 29 October 2012   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 182  
Aircraft registration VH-WTS  
Serial number 18262720  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Mayvale Station, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018