Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving a DH82-A Tiger Moth aircraft, VH-UZB, near Pimpama, Queensland on 28 December 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress
Phase: Final report: External review Read more information on this investigation phase


Updated: 8 November 2016

A Garmin VIRB Elite video camera capable of recording video, audio and GPS data was recovered from the accident site and downloaded by the Queensland Police with assistance from the ATSB. Video and audio data from the accident flight was recovered, however the video footage and audio ended shortly before the collision with terrain. GPS data from the accident flight could not be recovered.

Analysis of the recovered audio data indicated that engine speed began to decrease 5 seconds before the end of the recording. By the end of the recording, the take-off revolutions per minute (rpm) of 2,010 had reduced by 270 rpm. The discontinuation of the recording prevented an understanding of the magnitude of the continuing rpm loss as reported by the pilot. The final frame of the recovered video data indicated the aircraft was approximately 175 m from the accident site when the recording ended.

The aircraft's engine was recovered from site and examined at a Civil Aviation Safety Authority‑approved engine overhaul facility under the supervision of the ATSB. The examination did not reveal any conclusive reasons for the reduction in engine rpm. The ATSB has retained a number of engine components for further examination.

The investigation is continuing and will include further examination and analysis of evidence obtained during the investigation.



The information contained in this web update is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this web update. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this update.





Updated: 20 January 2016

On-site examination of the aircraft and accident site was completed on 8 January 2016. Those activities resulted in the retention of the aircraft engine and propeller for further technical examination. In addition, an on-board video camera and a number of other devices capable of recording sound and imagery were recovered for analysis.

On-site examination of the aircraft did not identify any evidence of structural failure that would have contributed to the accident.

The investigation is continuing and will include an examination of the:

  • pilot’s qualifications and experience
  • aircraft’s maintenance records and recovered items
  • environmental conditions at the time of the accident.


28 December 2015

During the conduct of the flight with a pilot and passenger the aircraft collided with terrain. The passenger was fatally injured and the pilot received serious injuries.

A team of three investigators with expertise in aircraft maintenance, operations and human performance deployed to the accident site on 28 December 2015. Completion of the on-site phase of the investigation has been delayed due to the presence of asbestos within the engine compartment of the aircraft. Following specialist assessment and removal of the asbestos, it is expected that examination of the aircraft will be completed within the next few days.

General details
Date: 28 December 2015   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 0900 EST   Investigation level: Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Pimpama Airstrip   Investigation phase: Final report: External review  
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Report status: Pending   Occurrence category: Accident  
Expected completion: 1st Quarter 2019   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer de Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model DH-82A  
Aircraft registration VH-UZB  
Serial number 291  
Type of operation General Aviation-Unknown  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Last update 18 December 2018