The ATSB is investigating a reported descent below the lowest safe altitude involving an Aero Commander 500-S, VH-LTP, near Adelaide Airport, South Australia on 12 August 2021.
The pilot was conducting a private flight from Port Lincoln to Adelaide under instrument flight rules. When the aircraft was about 20 km north of Adelaide Airport, air traffic control (ATC) cleared the pilot to commence the RNAV-Z Runway 23 approach. The aircraft was subsequently observed turning right away from the cleared route.
The controller then provided the pilot with vectors to rejoin the approach. Shortly after, communications were lost with the pilot, and ATC observed the aircraft on radar in a slow descent. When communications were re-established, the aircraft had descended to 2,500 ft, which was 1,300 ft below the lowest safe altitude. ATC instructed the pilot to climb immediately to 5,000 ft and provided headings to vector the aircraft to Adelaide.
As part of the investigation, investigators will be interviewing the pilot and reviewing the weather, ATC audio and radar tracks.
Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.
A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation.
|Date:||12 August 2021||Investigation status:||Active|
|Time:||00:25 UTC||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||26 km north-east of Adelaide Airport||Investigation phase:||Evidence collection|
|State:||South Australia||Occurrence type:||Flight below minimum altitude|
|Report status:||Pending||Highest injury level:||None|
|Anticipated completion:||1st Quarter 2022|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Aero Commander|
|Operator||Australian Fishing Enterprises|
|Type of operation||General Aviation|
|Damage to aircraft||Nil|
|Departure point||Port Lincoln Aerodrome, South Australia|
|Destination||Adelaide Airport, South Australia|