Investigation number
198903742
Occurrence date
Location
1 km WSW of Ayr Aerodrome
Report release date
Report status
Final
Investigation type
Occurrence Investigation
Investigation status
Completed
Aviation occurrence type
Wirestrike
Occurrence category
Accident
Highest injury level
Minor

The pilot departed the treatment area as darkness fell, to fly the 15 kilometres to Ayr aerodrome. His loader/driver had left the agricultural strip earlier after the last load of urea fertilizer had been loaded into the hopper of the aircraft. He had directions from the pilot to deploy kerosene lights on one side of runway 11 at Ayr for a night landing. Immediately before the accident, the aircraft was seen to orbit a farmhouse three kilometres north-west of the threshold of runway 11. It was flying low with the spray lights ON, in a very intense thunderstorm. Heavy rain was falling at the time. The farmer saw the aircraft lights disappear to the south and at the same time the electricity supply was cut. Convinced that the aircraft had crashed, he drove to the area where he had seen it disappear. When he arrived at a crossroads, he saw downed powerlines and the pilot, whom he recognised, standing among them. The pilot was in shock and incoherent. The aircraft had struck 11,000 Volt powerlines at a major junction of the electricity grid. It had cartwheeled and came to rest, upright, in tall sugar cane, 100 metres from the intersection. The pilot holds a Class Four and a Five Instrument Rating which entitle him to fly at night in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC). However, the aircraft was certified for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) only. Weather at destination was such that VMC was not met and flight by visual reference was not possible. The pilot had decided to return to Ayr so that spray gear could be fitted to the aircraft in preparation for work on the following day.

Aircraft Details
Departure point
Mona Park QLD
Destination
Ayr Aerodrome QLD
Model
188
Serial number
188-03281
Registration
VH-UDG
Operation type
Aerial Work
Damage
Substantial
Manufacturer
Cessna Aircraft Company
Departure time
1920 Approx.