Aviation safety investigations & reports

Maxair Drifter, Not Required, 15 km NNE Coffs Harbour NSW, 22 January 1985

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The purpose of the flight was to allow the passenger to decide whether he would undertake flying training on ultralight aircraft. After take-off, the pilot flew the aircraft along the coast to the north of the DEPARTURE strip, before returning by the same route. Approaching Moonee Beach the pilot climbed the aircraft to about 500 feet over the water. The aircraft then entered a wing-over type of manoeuvre, followed by a steep dive to a height of about 150 feet above the sea. A pull-out was made but as the aircraft climbed steeply the left wing failed and folded back against the fuselage. The pilot attempted unsuccessfully to deploy the emergency parachute and the aircraft fell into the sea about 30 metres from shore. The passenger was able to release his harness as the aircraft sank, and after trying for some time to locate the pilot in the wreckage he swam to the beach. The body of the pilot was recovered the following day. A detailed examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any pre-existing defect that might have contributed to the accident. It was evident that the steep dive and subsequent pull-out manoeuvre had exceeded the structural limits of the aircraft design.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 22 January 1985   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 900    
Location: 15 km NNE Coffs Harbour    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Airframe - Other  
Release date: 13 November 1985   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Amateur Built Aircraft  
Aircraft model Maxair Drifter  
Type of operation Sports Aviation  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point 15 km North Coffs Harbour NSW  
Departure time 0900  
Destination 15 km North Coffs Harbour NSW