Published: 22 September 2017
On 26 January 2017, the pilot of a Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73 amphibian aircraft, registered VH‑CQA (CQA), was participating in an air display as part of the City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks event. On board were the pilot and a passenger. The weather was fine with a recorded wind of about 20 km/hr from the south-west and a temperature of about 39 °C.
The pilot of CQA was flying ‘in company’ with a Cessna Caravan amphibian and conducted a series of circuits that included low-level fly-pasts of the Langley Park foreshore (Figure 1). After the second fly-past, the pilot of CQA commenced a third circuit, while the Caravan departed the area.
Source: OzRunways Pty. Ltd., modified by the ATSB
As part of the third circuit, the pilot of CQA flew in an easterly direction, parallel with the South Perth foreshore, before commencing a left turn. This would have facilitated a third pass in a westerly direction along the Langley Park foreshore. During the left turn, CQA rolled left and pitched nose down, consistent with an aerodynamic stall (Figure 2). The aircraft collided with the water and broke up. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.
Source: Mike Graham
The ATSB completed the on-site phase of its investigation on 4 February 2017. No pre-existing aircraft defects, which may have contributed to the collision with water, were identified. The ATSB has retained several items and components from the aircraft for further examination. This includes a fuel totaliser, a navigation unit and a mobile phone.
The investigation is continuing and will include:
- examination of numerous witness reports and images and a significant quantity of video footage taken on the day by members of the public, media outlets and so on
- review of the aircraft’s maintenance records, operational records for recent flights and pilot training records
- review of the meteorological conditions at the time
- an examination of aircraft performance and other operational factors
- further examination of the recorded flight radar, radio and Global Positioning System data
- review of the planning, approval and oversight of the air display, including a focus on safety and risk management practices.
Should any critical safety issues emerge during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately bring those issues to the attention of the relevant authorities or organisations. This will allow those authorities and organisations to consider safety action to address the safety issues. Details of such safety issues and any safety action in response will be published on the ATSB website at www.atsb.gov.au.
Since the release of its preliminary report on 8 March 2017, the ATSB has provided an update to this investigation.
The information contained in this web update is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this web update. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this update.
Updated: 22 December 2017
The investigation into the collision with water involving a Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73, VH-CQA, 10 km WSW of Perth Airport, Western Australia on 26 January 2017 is continuing. The investigation has completed the information-gathering phase and the team is engaged in detailed analysis of material. This involves a substantial amount of review, as well as consultation with external parties.
On completion of the draft report and internal review, the report will be sent to directly involved parties for comment before the report is finalised and published.
Should any safety issues be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify those affected and seek safety action to address the issue.
Updated: 22 September 2017
On 26 January 2017, a Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73 amphibian aircraft, registered VH‑CQA, aerodynamically stalled and impacted water while participating in an air display, as part of the City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks event. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.
This web update complements information already provided in the preliminary investigation report that was published on the ATSB website on 8 March 2017.
The investigation has not identified any evidence to indicate that pilot incapacitation or aircraft serviceability were contributing factors to the collision with water. Further analysis around the aircraft performance and operational factors, as well as the review of the planning, approval and oversight of the air display is ongoing.
During the investigation of the occurrence, the ATSB has examined the sequence of events leading up to the occurrence, aspects of the air display coordination, as well as the regulations, procedures and guidance relating to Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)‑authorised air displays. This has included:
- approval processes for several years of the Perth Australia Day Sky Show air display and for other air display events across Australia
- the applications to conduct air displays, from this event and others across Australia
- Air Display Safety and Administrative Arrangements manual (in use at the time of the occurrence) and the revised Air Display Administration and Procedure Manual (published September 2017). This manual provides guidance to CASA and the air display organiser
- surveillance and oversight of air displays.
The ATSB has also examined the Aircraft Accident Report AAR 1/2017 – G-BXFI, 22 August 2015 that was published by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch United Kingdom. In summary:
At 1222 UTC (1322 BST) on 22 August 2015, Hawker Hunter G-BXFI crashed on to the A27, Shoreham Bypass, while performing at the Shoreham Airshow, fatally injuring eleven road users and bystanders. A further 13 people, including the pilot, sustained other injuries.
Preliminary analysis of this information has identified differences in the approval process within CASA, between civil and military (including combined) displays and between Australia and other countries. The ATSB is continuing to analyse this information, to determine whether there are any systemic safety issues in relation to authorised air displays.
The investigation is continuing.
The information contained in this web update is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the ongoing investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this web update.
Updated: 30 January 2017
The ATSB has deployed two additional specialists to investigate the collision with water involving Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73, registered VH-CQA, on 26 January 2017.
A Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME) and a Human Factors specialist have arrived from Canberra to join the ATSB team in Perth.
The investigation will continue in detail, seeking information and data on meteorological conditions on the day, as well as examining pilot and maintenance documentation.
The ATSB will also seek recorded radar and radio information from AirServices Australia.
The ATSB has assisted the WA Department of Transport (Marine) recover the wreckage to enable the investigation to continue. The investigation may take up to a year to complete.
The ATSB is grateful to the many witnesses who have provided written, photographic and video evidence of the aircraft immediately prior to, during and after the accident. Investigators will contact witnesses as soon as they are able.
Published: 27 January 2017
The ATSB is investigatng the collision with water involving Grumman American Aviation Corp G-73, registered VH-CQA, 10 km WSW of Perth Airport, Western Australia on 26 January 2017.
While overflying the Swan River near the Perth CBD, the aircraft crashed into water destroying the aircraft and resulting in fatal injuries to the pilot and one passenger.
The ATSB deployed two investigators who arrived at the accident site during the afternoon of Thursday 26 January 2017. Over the next few days they will examine the accident site, interview witnesses, and collect maintenance and pilot records, and air traffic control recorded data.
The investigators are seeking witness reports and video recordings that might assist the investigation. Witnesses are requested to contact the ATSB on 1800 020 616 or email ATSBinfo@atsb.gov.au.
|Date:||26 January 2017||Investigation status:||Active|
|Time:||17:08 WST||Investigation level:||Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||Swan River, Perth||Investigation phase:||Final report: Internal review|
|State:||Western Australia||Occurrence type:||Collision with terrain|
|Release date:||08 March 2017||Occurrence class:||Operational|
|Report status:||Pending||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Expected completion:||1st Quarter 2019||Highest injury level:||Fatal|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Grumman American Aviation Corp|
|Aircraft model||G-73 Mallard (amphibious)|
|Type of operation||Aerial Work|
|Damage to aircraft||Destroyed|