Aviation safety investigations & reports

Loss of control involving Air Tractor AT-502, VH-ULV, near Esperance Airport, WA, on 10 September 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Discontinued


Section 21 (2) of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act) empowers the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to discontinue an investigation into a transport safety matter at any time. Section 21 (3) of the TSI Act requires the ATSB to publish a statement setting out the reasons for discontinuing an investigation.

At about 1000 Western Standard Time on 10 September 2016, an Air Tractor AT-502 aircraft, registered VH‑ULV, was conducting aerial agricultural spraying activities at Salmon Gums, near Esperance, West Australia. During a turn at about 200 ft above the ground, the pilot lost control and the aircraft collided with terrain. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the pilot sustained serious injuries.

Figure 1: VH-ULV showing damage
Air Tractor AT-502 aircraft, VH-ULV, showing damage
Source: Operator

Preliminary enquiries by the ATSB suggest that the accident was attributable to pilot actions. The ATSB considered it was very unlikely that further investigation would uncover any systemic safety issues. The ATSB has discontinued the investigation.

General details
Date: 10 September 2016   Investigation status: Discontinued  
Time: 10:00 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Esperance Airport (Salmon Gums)    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 20 September 2016   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Discontinued   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Air Tractor Inc  
Aircraft model AT-502  
Aircraft registration VH-ULV  
Serial number 502-0130  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Unknown  
Last update 14 November 2018