Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 172H, VH-KWN, Mud Islands, Port Phillip Bay, Vic, 5 January 1974

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Attempts were made to obtain photographs of VH-MJO with sharks in the background but these were unsuccessful. It was then decided that VH-KWN would descend to 500 feet to photograph the school of sharks, while VH-MJO remained clear of the other aircraft. The pilot of VH-KWN extended flap to 30 degrees and reduced speed from about 70 knots to 55-60 knots, using just sufficient engine power to maintain 500 feet altitude. Two left hand racecourse orbits were flown around the sharks and, during the third orbit, while on a north-easterly heading, the pilot had a discussion with the photographer regarding the positioning of the aircraft and then looked out to the right to check the location of the other aircraft. As a further left turn was initiated the pilot looked at the aircraft instruments and noticed that the altitude had decreased to 300 feet and that the airspeed was also low. The port wing dropped and the stall warning was heard to operate. Despite the initial application of corrective aileron, and the subsequent application of right rudder, forward stick and engine power, the aircraft lost height rapidly and struck the water in a nose down, port wing low attitude.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 160KB]
General details
Date: 05 January 1974   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1628 ESuT    
Location: Mud Islands, Port Phillip Bay    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 06 May 1975   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Aircraft registration VH-KWN  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Moorabbin  
Departure time 1512  
Destination Moorabbin  
Last update 13 May 2014