Aviation safety investigations & reports

Accredited Representative (State of Manufacture) to the German BFU into the accident involving a Jabiru J430, registered F-PFAJ, M├╝hlenberg, Germany on 23 June 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


On the evening of 23 June 2015, a home-built Jabiru J430 aircraft, registered F-PFAJ, was being flown on a transfer flight from Aachen, Germany to an airfield near the town of Oehna, France. The aircraft was being operated at night in instrument meteorological conditions. Thunderstorms and heavy precipitation were recorded along the flight path. At around 2200 that evening, local residents identified aircraft wreckage and debris within and surrounding the township of M├╝hlenberg, Germany. The aircraft had sustained an in-flight break up. Both occupants, a pilot and passenger, were fatally injured.

The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) was primarily responsible for investigating this accident. As part of its investigation, the BFU notified the ATSB as the State of Manufacture of the aircraft. In accordance with clause 5.18 of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the ATSB appointed an accredited representative to liaise with the BFU and the Australian aircraft manufacturer. In order to facilitate that liaison, an investigation under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 was initiated.

The BFU completed their investigation and concluded that:

The accident was caused by the pilot flying into instrument meteorological conditions which resulted in an uncontrolled flight attitude, which in turn resulted in structural failure due to overstress.

Contributory factors were the lack of qualification of the pilot to control an aircraft in IMC and the aircraft equipment geared to visual flight rules. In addition, both occupants were under mental pressure to reach the aerodrome of destination on direct course.

Since the trim tabs were not installed on the elevator, it was possible to perform a flare with higher load factors due to a greater deflection of the elevator.

The final report, BFU 15-0764-CX, is available on the BFU website at www.bfu-web.de/reports.

Any enquires relating to the investigation should be directed to the BFU at: www.bfu-web.de.

General details
Date: 23 June 2015   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1846 UTC   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Mühlenberg, Lower Saxony, Germany    
State: International   Occurrence type: VFR into IMC  
Release date: 23 March 2020   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Jabiru Aircraft Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model J430  
Aircraft registration F-PFAJ  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Last update 23 March 2020