Updated: 22 December 2017

The investigation into the collision with water involving a Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73, VH-CQA, 10 km WSW of Perth Airport, Western Australia on 26 January 2017 is continuing. The investigation has completed the information-gathering phase and the team is engaged in detailed analysis of material. This involves a substantial amount of review, as well as consultation with external parties.

On completion of the draft report and internal review, the report will be sent to directly involved parties for comment before the report is finalised and published.

Should any safety issues be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify those affected and seek safety action to address the issue.



Updated: 22 September 2017

On 26 January 2017, a Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73 amphibian aircraft, registered VH‑CQA, aerodynamically stalled and impacted water while participating in an air display, as part of the City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks event. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.

This web update complements information already provided in the preliminary investigation report that was published on the ATSB website on 8 March 2017.

The investigation has not identified any evidence to indicate that pilot incapacitation or aircraft serviceability were contributing factors to the collision with water. Further analysis around the aircraft performance and operational factors, as well as the review of the planning, approval and oversight of the air display is ongoing.

During the investigation of the occurrence, the ATSB has examined the sequence of events leading up to the occurrence, aspects of the air display coordination, as well as the regulations, procedures and guidance relating to Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)‑authorised air displays. This has included:

  • approval processes for several years of the Perth Australia Day Sky Show air display and for other air display events across Australia
  • the applications to conduct air displays, from this event and others across Australia
  • Air Display Safety and Administrative Arrangements manual (in use at the time of the occurrence) and the revised Air Display Administration and Procedure Manual (published September 2017). This manual provides guidance to CASA and the air display organiser
  • surveillance and oversight of air displays.

The ATSB has also examined the Aircraft Accident Report AAR 1/2017 – G-BXFI, 22 August 2015 that was published by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch United Kingdom.[1] In summary:

At 1222 UTC (1322 BST) on 22 August 2015, Hawker Hunter G-BXFI crashed on to the A27, Shoreham Bypass, while performing at the Shoreham Airshow, fatally injuring eleven road users and bystanders. A further 13 people, including the pilot, sustained other injuries.

Preliminary analysis of this information has identified differences in the approval process within CASA, between civil and military (including combined) displays and between Australia and other countries. The ATSB is continuing to analyse this information, to determine whether there are any systemic safety issues in relation to authorised air displays.

The investigation is continuing.

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 ongoing 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.


[1]     AAIB reports can be viewed via www.gov.uk/aaib-reports



Updated: 30 January 2017

The ATSB has deployed two additional specialists to investigate the collision with water involving Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73, registered VH-CQA, on 26 January 2017.

A Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME) and a Human Factors specialist have arrived from Canberra to join the ATSB team in Perth.

The investigation will continue in detail, seeking information and data on meteorological conditions on the day, as well as examining pilot and maintenance documentation.

The ATSB will also seek recorded radar and radio information from AirServices Australia.

The ATSB has assisted the WA Department of Transport (Marine) recover the wreckage to enable the investigation to continue. The investigation may take up to a year to complete.

The ATSB is grateful to the many witnesses who have provided written, photographic and video evidence of the aircraft immediately prior to, during and after the accident. Investigators will contact witnesses as soon as they are able.



Published: 27 January 2017

The ATSB is investigatng the collision with water involving Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73, registered VH-CQA, 10 km WSW of Perth Airport, Western Australia on 26 January 2017.

While overflying the Swan River near the Perth CBD, the aircraft crashed into water destroying the aircraft and resulting in fatal injuries to the pilot and one passenger.

The ATSB deployed two investigators who arrived at the accident site during the afternoon of Thursday 26 January 2017. Over the next few days they will examine the accident site, interview witnesses, and collect maintenance and pilot records, and air traffic control recorded data.

The investigators are seeking witness reports and video recordings that might assist the investigation. Witnesses are requested to contact the ATSB on 1800 020 616 or email ATSBinfo@atsb.gov.au.