Aviation safety investigations & reports

Technical assistance to the Australian Sport Rotorcraft Association following the collision with terrain involving Titanium Explorer Autogyro, G-0014, near Orange Airport, NSW on 31 October 2018

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed
Phase: Final report: Dissemination Read more information on this investigation phase

Final Report

What happened

On 31 October 2018 a Titanium Explorer Autogyro, registered G-0014, collided with terrain approximately 1 km south‑east of Orange Airport, New South Wales. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The rotors and masthead were found some distance from the main wreckage, having separated at the cheek plates (Figure 1). The cheek plates sit on either side of the collapsible mast and are designed to secure the mast in the upright position during operation.

The Australian Sport Rotorcraft Association commenced an investigation into this accident and requested technical assistance from the ATSB to examine the cheek plates and their fracture surfaces. Specifically, the ATSB was requested to determine the direction of fracture progression through the plates and to identify any factors that may have contributed to their failure.

To facilitate this work, the ATSB initiated an external investigation under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.


The ATSB examination undertook physical, microscopic and chemical analysis of the cheek plates. These examinations found that the plates had failed due to ductile overstress, commencing at the leading edge and progressing to the trailing edge (when oriented in the direction of travel). The plate’s dimensions and chemical composition were in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and there was no evidence of any pre-existing defects.

Figure 1: Port and starboard cheek plates as supplied to the ATSB

Figure 1: Port and starboard cheek plates as supplied to the ATSB. Source: ATSB

Source: ATSB

With the completion of the component examinations, the ATSB has concluded its involvement in the investigation of this accident. Any further enquiries in relation to the investigation should be directed to the Australian Sport Rotorcraft Association.



This report has been released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.


General details
Date: 31 October 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1209 EST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Near Orange Airport   Investigation phase: Final report: Dissemination  
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 20 May 2019   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft model Tag Aviation, Titanium Explorer Autogyro  
Aircraft registration G-0014  
Serial number 0036-0217  
Type of operation Sports Aviation  
Sector Sport and recreational  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Orange, NSW  
Destination Orange, NSW  
Last update 20 May 2019