Aviation safety investigations & reports

Wirestrike involving an Eagle DW1, VH-FHP, 77 km SE of Townsville, QLD on 27 July 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 27 July 2015, the pilot of an Eagle DW1 aircraft, registered VH-FHP, conducted aerial spraying operations on a property about 77 km southeast of Townsville, Queensland. At about 0930 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot took off to spray the third paddock for that day, overflew the paddock and identified two sets of powerlines. The pilot planned to spray the paddock using a racetrack pattern and flying it in a clockwise direction. One set of powerlines ran parallel to the spray direction, and the other ran across it at the western end. There was a line of trees along those western powerlines, which obscured vision of the power poles.

The pilot completed the first spray run towards the powerlines, overflew them, and then turned to line up for the second spray run. The pilot noted the powerlines ahead, but then diverted their attention to the other powerlines, running parallel to the direction of flight. The pilot also looked inside at the GPS on the dashboard to check the aircraft’s line for the spray run.

The pilot commenced the descent into the paddock through a clearing in the trees and did not see the powerlines at that time. As the aircraft descended, the pilot looked up and suddenly sighted the powerlines. The aircraft struck the wires above the propeller on the wing struts.

The aircraft decelerated rapidly and the wires pulled the aircraft towards the ground. The pilot landed the aircraft with the wings level. The undercarriage sheared off, the propeller struck the ground and the aircraft ground-looped, coming to rest facing the opposite direction. The pilot sustained minor injuries and the aircraft was destroyed.

It is important for pilots to watch continually for any hazards identified in pre-planning. If a pilot is not specifically looking for a hazard, it is unlikely they will notice it.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 43

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General details
Date: 27 July 2015   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1058 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 77 km SE Townsville    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Wirestrike  
Release date: 07 October 2015   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Eagle Aircraft Australia  
Aircraft model DW-1  
Aircraft registration VH-FHP  
Serial number DW-1-0027-81  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Last update 14 November 2018