Aviation safety investigations & reports

Loss of control – Fairchild Metro III, VH-OZA, 19 km SE Sydney, NSW, 9 April 2008

Investigation number:
AO-2008-026
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 6.88MB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 4.63MB]
 

On 9 April 2008, at 2325 Eastern Standard Time, a Fairchild Industries Inc. SA227-AC (Metro III) aircraft, registered VH-OZA, departed Sydney Airport, New South Wales on a freight charter flight to Brisbane, Queensland with one pilot on board. The aircraft was subsequently observed on radar to be turning right, contrary to air traffic control instructions to turn left to an easterly heading. The pilot reported that he had a 'slight technical fault' and no other transmissions were heard from the pilot.

Recorded radar data showed the aircraft turning right and then left, followed by a descent and climb, a second right turn and a second descent before radar returns were lost when the aircraft was at an altitude of 3,740 ft above mean sea level and descending at over 10,000 ft/min. Air traffic control initiated search actions and search vessels later recovered a small amount of aircraft wreckage floating in the ocean, south of the last recorded radar position. The pilot was presumed to be fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

Both of the aircraft's on-board flight recorders were subsequently recovered from the ocean floor. They contained data from a number of previous flights, but not for the accident flight. There was no evidence of a midair breakup of the aircraft.

The investigation determined that it was highly likely that the pilot took off without alternating current electrical power supplied to the aircraft's primary flight instruments, including the pilot's artificial horizon and both flight recorders. It is most likely that the lack of a primary attitude reference during the night takeoff led to pilot spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control of the aircraft.

A significant safety issue was identified in respect of the aircraft operator's training and checking of its pilots. As a result of audits conducted following the accident, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority imposed a number of conditions on the operator's air operator's certificate that were reportedly actioned by the operator.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 6.88MB]
 
 
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 4.63MB]
 

Photos

To download, click the link, then right-click and select Save As.

Copyright in material obtained from other agencies, private individuals or organisations, belongs to those agencies, individuals or organisations and should be credited accordingly.

Preliminary

Download Preliminary Report
[Download  PDF: 563KB]
 

Preliminary Report released 20 June 2008

On 9 April 2008, a Fairchild Industries Metro III aircraft departing Sydney, NSW was observed on radar to be turning contrary to air traffic control instructions. The pilot reported that he had a '…slight technical fault…'. Recorded radar data showed the aircraft then completed a turn to the left before turning back to the right and disappearing from radar at an altitude of 3,900 ft. Searchers later discovered a small amount of aircraft wreckage floating in the ocean, south of the last recorded radar position. The pilot was fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

Download Preliminary Report
[Download  PDF: 563KB]
 
 
 

Interim Factual

Download Interim Factual Report
[Download  PDF: 682KB]
 

Interim Factual Report released 25 July 2008

On 9 April 2008, a Fairchild Industries Metro III aircraft departing Sydney, NSW was observed on radar to be turning contrary to air traffic control instructions. The pilot reported that he had a '...slight technical fault...'. Recorded radar data showed the aircraft then completed a turn to the left before turning back to the right and disappearing from radar at an altitude of 3,900 ft. Searchers later discovered a small amount of aircraft wreckage floating in the ocean, south of the last recorded radar position. The pilot was fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

Download Interim Factual Report
[Download  PDF: 682KB]
 
 
 
General details
Date: 09 April 2008   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2327 EST    
Location   (show map): Sydney Airport SE 19 km   Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation  
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 16 May 2011   Occurrence class: Operational  
Report status: Final   Occurrence category: Accident  
  Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227  
Aircraft registration VH-OZA  
Serial number AC-600  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Brisbane, Qld  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL 175.2 4,873.0
 
Injuries
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 14 November 2018