Preliminary report published 19 July 2019
Sequence of events
On 5 June 2019, a Yakovlev Aircraft Factories Yak-52, registered VH-PAE, was conducting a private flight from Southport airfield, Queensland. The aircraft departed the airfield at about 0945 Eastern Standard Time (EST), with a pilot and one passenger on board. The flight was intended to take about 30 minutes, and include a low-level scenic flight north along the coast from Broadbeach to the Jumpinpin channel area, and then seawards off Jumpinpin for some aerobatic manoeuvres, before returning to Southport airfield (Figure 1). A second passenger was waiting at the airfield to complete a similar trip once the aircraft had returned.
When the aircraft had not returned by the designated time, the second passenger became concerned and started asking members at the Southport Flying Club if they had heard anything. At about 1310, a representative from the club contacted Airservices Australia about the overdue aircraft and at 1400, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre initiated search and rescue operations. At about 1630, part of the propeller was located on the eastern side of South Stradbroke Island. In the following days, additional wreckage was also recovered from the same location, as well as the pilot and passenger, both of whom had been fatally injured.
Source: Google earth, annotated by the ATSB
The pilot held a current Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) issued on 23 May 2016. The pilot also held a Class 2 Aviation Medical Certificate that was valid until 1 May 2021. The available information from the pilot’s logbook indicated that he had about 490 hours total aeronautical experience, including 38 hours in VH-PAE. The pilot had received both a spinning and aerobatic endorsement in January 2019.
The Yakovlev Aircraft Factories Yak-52 was an all-metal, two-seat, low-wing aircraft, powered by an air-cooled radial M-14P engine driving a two-bladed, variable-pitch wooden propeller. VH-PAE (Figure 2) (serial number 822001) was manufactured in 1982 and first registered with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 5 April 2017. The aircraft was registered to the pilot on 5 July 2018.
The most recent entry on the maintenance release was 5 days prior to the accident (on 31 May 2019) and showed that the aircraft had accumulated 1,164.2 hours’ total time‑in‑service.
Source: Matthew Coughlin
The items of wreckage recovered were taken to a secure facility by the Queensland Police Service for examination by the ATSB. These items included:
- a section of the left side of the fuselage and the tail section (Figure 3)
- a section of the right wing
- two seat cushions
- pneumatic system cylinders
- a number of wooden propeller pieces.
The initial examination found that the tail of the aircraft exhibited significant damage on the vertical and right horizontal stabilisers, and it had remained attached to the fuselage by flight control cables. The significant disruption to the aircraft was indicative of a high-speed impact.
The ATSB removed a number of components from the wreckage for further examination, including various instruments from the fuselage section. The aircraft was not equipped with a flight data or cockpit voice recorder, nor was it required to be.
The investigation is continuing and will include consideration of the following:
- recovered aircraft components
- aircraft maintenance documentation
- pilot qualifications, experience, and medical history
- weather conditions
- witness observations
- research and similar occurrences.
The ATSB acknowledges the support of the Queensland Police Service for their assistance during this investigation.
The information contained in this preliminary report 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 report. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this update.
|Date:||05 June 2019||Investigation status:||Active|
|Time:||10:00 EST||Investigation level:||Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||near South Stradbroke Island||Investigation phase:||Evidence collection|
|State:||Queensland||Occurrence type:||Collision with terrain|
|Release date:||19 July 2019||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Anticipated completion:||1st Quarter 2020|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Yakovlev Aircraft Factories|
|Damage to aircraft||Destroyed|
|Departure point||Southport airfield, Queensland|