Published: 31 October 2017
On 26 September 2017, an instructor and student conducted a training flight in a Diamond Aircraft Industries DA40-180 aircraft, registered VH-MPM, from Archerfield Airport, Queensland. The training organisation was Aircrew Training and Support Pty Ltd, and the purpose of the flight was to prepare the student for an upcoming Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) test.
At 0913 Eastern Standard Time (EST), the aircraft departed Archerfield. Recorded air traffic control (ATC) data showed the aircraft track toward the Archerfield training area and climb to about 3,000 ft above mean sea level. At 0923, the aircraft entered the training area. During the next 20 minutes, radar data indicated the aircraft conducted training sequences between 2,600 ft and 4,500 ft above mean sea level.
At 0943:08, the radar data showed the aircraft commence a climb to about 4,500 ft with a reducing groundspeed. The data then showed the aircraft in a near vertical descent. During this descent, a witness observed the aircraft in a spin. As the aircraft descended, the instructor broadcast MAYDAY on the area frequency. ATC received the MAYDAY broadcast and attempted to contact the aircraft, but no response was received.
The aircraft subsequently collided with terrain. A number of witnesses heard or observed the impact and responded to provide assistance.
Recorded weather and witness observations indicated that fine conditions with light wind and no cloud existed in the area at the time of the accident.
On-site examination of the wreckage and surrounding ground marks indicated that the aircraft impacted terrain nose-down, consistent with a left upright spin. The forward fuselage separated from the rest of the aircraft at the engine firewall. The wings, centre fuselage, and rear fuselage separated in the direction of spin rotation. Evidence from examination of the engine and propeller was consistent with the engine producing idle power at the time of the accident. There was no evidence of fire. The flap actuator indicated that the flaps were in the up position.
The investigation is continuing and will include consideration of the:
- instructor qualifications and experience
- available electronic data
- similar occurrences
- spin recovery training requirements
- aircraft weight and balance.
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.
- The ground level elevation over which the aircraft operated in the training area was about 100 ft to 400 ft above mean sea level. The accident site elevation was 167 ft.
- MAYDAY: an internationally recognised radio call announcing a distress condition where an aircraft or its occupants are being threatened by serious and/or imminent danger and the flight crew require immediate assistance.