Aviation safety investigations & reports

Pilot incapacitation event involving a Hawker B200, VH-FDT, 70 km NNW of Brisbane, Queensland, 5 November 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 5 November 2012, a Hawker B200 aircraft, registered VH-FDT (FDT), departed Bundaberg on an aeromedical retrieval flight to Brisbane, Queensland. On board the aircraft were the pilot, the flight nurse and two patients.

Between 1556 and 1607 Eastern Standard Time, Brisbane Centre and Brisbane Approach attempted to contact FDT on a number of occasions, with no response received.

The nurse also became concerned as she had not yet sighted the geographic features she normally observed. The nurse turned towards the pilot and observed that his chin was slumped onto his chest and he was not alert. The nurse attempted to arouse the pilot, at which time the stall warning alarm activating. The pilot regained alertness and initiated recovery actions. 

The aircraft landed at Brisbane at 1617.

Drug and Alcohol Management Plan (DAMP) testing was conducted, which returned a positive reading for an illicit substance, which had affected the pilot’s sleep cycle.

Flying an aircraft is a complex, demanding and challenging activity, which requires a high level of cognitive functioning and psychomotor skills. The significant performance impairments associated with drug use are widely recognised. Consequently, the use of drugs by pilots can adversely affect their ability to safely operate an aircraft.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 17

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 192KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 1.87MB]
General details
Date: 05 November 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1600 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 70 km NNW Brisbane    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Flight crew incapacitation  
Release date: 23 April 2013   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft Corporation  
Aircraft model 200  
Aircraft registration VH-FDT  
Serial number BB-1990  
Type of operation Medical Transport  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Bundaberg, Qld  
Destination Brisbane, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018