Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Cessna 172S, VH-VSK, 2 km NNE Durham Downs, Qld, 18 October 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At about 1030 Eastern Standard Time on 18 October 2010, a Cessna 172S aircraft, registered VH-VSK, was operating at low level near Durham Downs Homestead, Queensland. A pilot and one passenger were on board.

The pilot was assisting a ground party locate two horses. The aircraft was seen manoeuvring at low level before radio and visual contact was lost. A search later found that the aircraft had impacted terrain near a dry creek bed. Both occupants received fatal injuries and the aircraft was seriously damaged.

The aircraft's impact attitude was consistent with a loss of control following aerodynamic stall. The pilot was reported to have told another pilot a few days before the occurrence that the aircraft's stall warning system was inoperative. However, the status of the stall warning system at the time of the occurrence could not be confirmed. The investigation identified some other issues which also could have influenced the safety of the flight.

The aircraft operator introduced a number of changes to its policies and procedures following the occurrence.

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 354KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 450KB]


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General details
Date: 18 October 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1030 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 2 km NNE Durham Downs, NW of Thargomindah    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 04 November 2011   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Aircraft registration VH-VSK  
Serial number 172S8648  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Last update 03 April 2020