Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving Cessna 150, VH-UWR, 55 km NE of Bourke, NSW, 29 April 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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What happened

On the morning of 29 April 2012, the owner-pilot of a Cessna 150 aircraft, registered VH-UWR was aerial stock mustering on a cattle station about 55 km north-east of Bourke, New South Wales. Some early patches of fog cleared such that the weather conditions were fine and calm.

After about 1.5 hours in the air, the pilot radioed stockmen on the ground to direct them to an area where cattle were not moving. The aircraft was observed circling over the area then in a steep descent followed by the sound of an impact. The aircraft was seriously damaged and the pilot sustained fatal injuries.

What the ATSB found

While manoeuvring at low level the pilot inadvertently allowed the aircraft to aerodynamically stall, resulting in a high rate of descent and collision with terrain. There was insufficient information about pilot control inputs to establish the factors that precipitated the stall.

The pilot did not hold a valid medical certificate and had not completed a flight review for a number of years, increasing the risks of operating an aircraft, especially during aerial stock mustering.

Safety message

Pilot proficiency can decline without regular practice of non-routine procedures under the supervision of instructors or approved training/check pilots. As such, pilots should take every opportunity to refresh their knowledge and skills, at a minimum during a flight review every two years.

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General details
Date: 29 April 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0800 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 55 km NE of Bourke    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loss of control  
Release date: 18 June 2013   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 150  
Aircraft registration VH-UWR  
Serial number 15079278  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Departure point Warraweena Homestead, NSW  
Destination Warraweena Homestead, NSW  
Last update 03 April 2020