Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA25-235 Pawnee, VH-MCE, Hawkesdale, Vic, 29 November 1969

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft was operating from a strip aligned north and south and located in flat, open, grass covered terrain. The approaches to the strip were good but 1350 feet south of the southern threshold a power tine 30 feet high and supported on wooden poles ran at right angles to the approach path. After completing the spraying of an oat crop which was situated about one mile to the south west of the strip, the pilot was approaching from the south for his third and last landing for the day. The aircraft was observed to be flying at a low level for a considerable distance before the undercarriage legs struck the power line, some 70 feet to the left of one of the supporting poles. The lines stretched, retarding the aircraft which pitched down until one wire snapped and the second slipped clear of the undercarriage. The aircraft struck the ground in a vertical nose down attitude 105 feet beyond the point of impact with the wire, then fell on to its back and slid inverted for 25 feet. On impact with the ground the forward fuselage collapsed and burst into flames which spread rapidly. The pilot was trapped in the cockpit for several minutes until the nearest witnesses, who were one half mile away were able to reach the scene. The aircraft tail had to be physically lifted and the pilot's harness released before he could be dragged clear of the wreck.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 146KB]
General details
Date: 29 November 1969   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1900 EST    
Location: Hawkesdale    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Wirestrike  
Release date: 03 July 1970   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-25  
Aircraft registration VH-MCE  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Agricultural Strip  
Departure time 1830  
Destination Agricultural Strip  
Last update 13 May 2014