Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving a Glasflugel Hornet, VH-GEZ, Benalla, Aerodrome, VIC on 4 December 1995

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The glider was being test flown after major maintenance had been completed. During lift off the pilot lost control and the aircraft cartwheeled. The pilot received minor injuries and the glider was substantially damaged. Investigation found that the ailerons had been connected in the reverse sense. During the maintenance, reassembly, rigging and preflight the glider had passed through four stages of inspection, all of which failed to detect the incorrect rigging of the ailerons. It was found that 10 types of glider operated in Australia are fitted with common aileron drive gimbals that can be physically fitted to the incorrect side of the aircraft, thereby reversing the sense of the control. Immediately after the accident the Gliding Federation of Australia issued an Operations Advice Notice advising details of the accident. The notice made the point that crossed controls had occurred before and that an Airworthiness Advice Notice had been issued in 1980 covering the subject. This notice stated 'this incident emphasises the dangers of complacency; we have come to expect things to operate correctly and therefore assume that if something is working, it is working correctly'. The Operations Advice Notice made three recommendations relating to the principles of assuring correct sense and the avoidance of external distraction during preflight inspections. The Gliding Federation also issued an Airworthiness Directive requiring, on the subject gliders, gimbals for the left wing to be painted bright red and for the gimbals for the right wing to be paint bright green. This action is to be performed at the next annual inspection.
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[Download  PDF: 16KB]
General details
Date: 04 December 1995   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 16:00 ESuT    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 10 September 1996   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Glasflugel  
Aircraft model Hornet  
Aircraft registration VH-GEZ  
Sector Other  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Benalla Vic  
Destination Benalla Vic