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Missing NSW plane found crashed in forest west of Coffs Harbour


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I don't think it's a case of 'blaming' ATC per se.  But the issue of the unnecessary dangers posed by the Coffs airspace arrangements have been debated for years.  (And, indeed, as the ATSB report not

I flew down to Parkes from South Grafton that morning and passed about 30NM west of the crash site at around 9:00am. On takeoff cloud was low and broken at about 1000 and as I climbed and flew south w

Replace those two victims with you and your missus then. Or me and the KRviatrix. Yes, he was uncurrent, and "legally" should not have been there. But it wasn't his technical skills as a pilot that br

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So ATC and the stupid airspace around Brisbane killed these 2.

Was always an accident waiting to happen.

Brisbane has the worst airspace in the country coupled with the high hills, the clouds that develop and the lack of respect for VFR aircraft just sad.

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If there was a way to fly doing everything wrong, this bloke was doing it. ATC directions may certainly have been a contributing factor, but this pilot was providing the greatest level of factors needed, to crash.

 

"The ATSB also found that the pilot was not carrying suitable navigation equipment and had most likely not obtained the required weather forecasts.

These factors reduced the pilot's ability to manage the flight path changes and identify the high terrain. This led to the aircraft being descended toward the high terrain in visibility conditions below that required for visual flight, resulting in controlled flight into terrain.

The pilot had also not completed the required flight reviews or proficiency checks. This resulted in the pilot not possessing the required licence to undertake the flight and likely led to a deterioration in the knowledge and skills required for effective flight management and decision-making."

 

https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5779252/ao-2019-052-final.pdf

 

 

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At the end of the day he wasn’t current or licensed so he should not of been flying so it shouldn’t have happened.

Can’t blame ATC on this one as he should not of been in the air piloting a plane.

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To me, the most positive part of this report is this par on page 14 about future airspace reclassification:

 

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On the one hand, I don't quite understand how this makes airspace sense; does it mean that you could just make your way coastal past Coffs at, say, 4,500 (in Class E) without the need of any clearance?  But mightn't that put you in conflict with arriving/departing IFR flights?  Or would all of their inbound/outbound tracking be within Class D?  I guess so; and the good part is that, Coffs traffic will be controlled only by Coffs Tower. 

 

The implications of this for safer aviating around and through this area are huge. But when it comes to recreational aircraft we need to remember that whilst a clearance is not required in Class E, a transponder is. 

 

So this might be another good reason to get a SkyEcho conspicuity device (the poor man's ADSB transponder) because they're officially approved for the purposes of Class E entry.

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Garfly said:

To me, the most positive part of this report is this par on page 14 about future airspace reclassification:

 

1216093180_COFFSCLASSE.thumb.png.063bfe6edacd1e9aa3bacf68baccc12e.png

On the one hand, I don't quite understand how this makes airspace sense; does it mean that you could just make your way coastal past Coffs at, say, 4,500 (in Class E) without the need of any clearance?  But mightn't that put you in conflict with arriving/departing IFR flights?  Or would all of their inbound/outbound tracking be within Class D?  I guess so; and the good part is that, Coffs traffic will be controlled only by Coffs Tower. 

 

The implications of this for safer aviating around and through this area are huge. But when it comes to recreational aircraft we need to remember that whilst a clearance is not required in Class E, a transponder is. 

 

So this might be another good reason to get a SkyEcho conspicuity device (the poor man's ADSB transponder) because they're officially approved for the purposes of Class E entry.

 

 

 

568438192_W0cYiLRQay6mC9quRMMDA_thumb_187c4.thumb.jpg.cbb34bca54ced9851ce7624e08492b84.jpg

 

Dick thinks that is safer

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But what do you (as a controller) think, shags? 

(BTW, good to see you back posting!  ;- )

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I flew down to Parkes from South Grafton that morning and passed about 30NM west of the crash site at around 9:00am. On takeoff cloud was low and broken at about 1000 and as I climbed and flew south west it continued to build. Cloud cover past Nymboida was 8/8 with tops about 6-7000 and it was getting worse at the time & there were lenticulars at 10-11,000. I knew it was clear from Tamworth but overcast in all directions when I passed Armidale though there were aircraft in the circuit there at the time. I left at 8:30 but If I'd left my departure any later I probably would have had to turn back.

 

Yes the pilot should not have been flying without a valid licence & yes he should have been aware of the weather and had maps etc and why did he refuse the 1000 feet coastal route. We will never know the answers but why did ATC refuse the 6500 route through class C when there was no conflicting traffic. The response in the report are pretty vague. 6500 would probably have been adequate at the time but not a couple of hours later.

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11 hours ago, alf jessup said:

At the end of the day he wasn’t current or licensed so he should not of been flying so it shouldn’t have happened.

Can’t blame ATC on this one as he should not of been in the air piloting a plane.

Replace those two victims with you and your missus then. Or me and the KRviatrix. Yes, he was uncurrent, and "legally" should not have been there. But it wasn't his technical skills as a pilot that brought him undone. This could have happened to any VFR pilot - and to be honest, I'm surprised it hasn't more often given the airspace layout & lack of clearances available from some agencies.

 

0717 & 45NM north CFS - Request clearance from Controller A.

Refused, directed to  contact Controller B. (Now I'd be thinking 'there goes Plan A')

Request clearance from Controller B.

Advised "I don't control that airspace, contact Controller A" (Now I'd be thinking 'Well, phuck, there goes Plan B')

Contact Controller A again. Directed to contact Controller B again (Thinking 'WTF is that going to achieve?!?')

0721 Contact Controller B, advised "Clearance only available below 1,000"

 

Bear in mind this whole time he's covering over 2.5 miles a minute, is closing on the 5,500' step that he doesn't have clearance to enter, has lost his Plan A & B, and likely didn't have a Plan C such that at that rate & RoD still had a not-insignificant airspace infringement in the 5,500' step.

 

I wonder what the report about the UH-1 crash at Newcastle will have to say on this issue (clearances & airspace layout) as well...

Edited by KRviator
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1 hour ago, KRviator said:

Replace those two victims with you and your missus then. Or me and the KRviatrix. Yes, he was uncurrent, and "legally" should not have been there. But it wasn't his technical skills as a pilot that brought him undone. This could have happened to any VFR pilot - and to be honest, I'm surprised it hasn't more often given the airspace layout & lack of clearances available from some agencies.

 

0717 & 45NM north CFS - Request clearance from Controller A.

Refused, directed to  contact Controller B. (Now I'd be thinking 'there goes Plan A')

Request clearance from Controller B.

Advised "I don't control that airspace, contact Controller A" (Now I'd be thinking 'Well, phuck, there goes Plan B')

Contact Controller A again. Directed to contact Controller B again (Thinking 'WTF is that going to achieve?!?')

0721 Contact Controller B, advised "Clearance only available below 1,000"

 

Bear in mind this whole time he's covering over 2.5 miles a minute, is closing on the 5,500' step that he doesn't have clearance to enter, has lost his Plan A & B, and likely didn't have a Plan C such that at that rate & RoD still had a not-insignificant airspace infringement in the 5,500' step.

 

I wonder what the report about the UH-1 crash at Newcastle will have to say on this issue (clearances & airspace layout) as well...

Well for starters you cannot replace them with me or the missus as o would not have been there if I was not current.

His decision making alone brought him and his son undone, as sad as it is it should not really have happened but it did.

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There will not be any general aviation in Australia shortly. CASA, controlled airspace and local councils greed are all working to keep GA out of the air. 

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So a non current pilot departs with no charts, no EFB, no weather information, no flight plan lodged.

Purposely decends into IMC (not IFR tained either) and flys into the ground.

And it's ATC fault?

 

 

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I think those making excuses for the pilot are missing more than a couple of extremely important things. This bloke flew blind, into IMC, for an extended length of time - against all VFR training. 

He flew right past the 538' high towers on the top of Mt Moombil, at an altitude that was 386' below the top of the towers - obviously, without even seeing them.

His entire management of the flight was extremely poor. His weather checks were deficient, and his weather assessment was deficient.

He never lodged a flight plan (although it wasn't a strict requirement, good planning skills say lodging a FP is a pretty good idea).

His entire flight planning was deficient from the moment he climbed into the aircraft. If he'd carried out his proficiency review, an instructor might have really smartened up his flying and flight planning skills.

It's very sad that both he and his son both lost their lives, and a perfectly good aircraft was destroyed.

But he'd obviously developed a very complacent and casual attitude to flying a fairly high performance aircraft - and that has killed a lot of people.

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"Blame" or "excuses" is not the language, nor cast of mind, of the ATSB. They tend to see the world more complexly.

 

From the report:

 

 

"ATSB investigation report findings focus on safety factors (that is, events and conditions that increase risk). Safety factors include ‘contributing factors’ .... These findings should not be read as apportioning blame or liability to any particular organisation or individual."

 

"Contributing factors • The pilot was not provided with a clearance to transit Class C airspace despite no limiting meteorological factors. Instead, the Class C controller provided the option to seek a clearance at a lower altitude with an increased risk of encountering poor weather. • The limited information provided by the Class D controller to enter that airspace probably led to the pilot’s decision to descend into a hazardous area instead of other available safe options. • The pilot was not carrying appropriate navigation equipment and had most probably not obtained weather forecasts. This reduced the pilot's ability to manage the flight path changes and identify the high terrain. • The aircraft was descended into an area of high terrain in conditions below that required for visual flight, leading to controlled flight into terrain."

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I haven't been following this, but if you find yourself in conditions below VFR and know you are in strife, you are mad not to declare an emergency. Of course the reason he didn't declare an emergency was because he was convinced that he could fly through the problem.

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2 hours ago, alf jessup said:

Well for starters you cannot replace them with me or the missus as o would not have been there if I was not current.

His decision making alone brought him and his son undone, as sad as it is it should not really have happened but it did.

You're focusing on the wrong thing.

 

Forget his currency, or lack thereof, it's an 'administrative' issue only. What difference did his currency make in the context of this accident? None at all. Were he actually current, he would "legally" have been there, instead of "illegally" being there. Highlighting the currency issue, while "technically" correct for an accident investigation/report, does not achieve anything in preventing a similar accident.

 

I would wholeheartedly agree his decision making left an awful lot to be desired, but being refused a clearance though empty airspace "just because" does not sit well with me. There was no other traffic within cooee, there was known bad weather, and the Trainee ATCO couldn't handle a simple VFR clearance through 7 miles (<3 minutes) of his airspace - yet didn't get upset when the PIC violated his airspace anyway...The Trainee ATCO didn't want the workload, and so wanted the pilot of an aircraft in the middle of its' cruise flight to descend to <3,500 to get through the Coffs area and palmed him off to another Controller's area of responsibility - and then had the PIC being passed back and forth thrice more, all the while said PIC is closing on not only bad weather but CTA he has been denied clearance to enter that triggered all this in the first place.

 

Quote

The ATSB also found that the pilot was not carrying suitable navigation equipment

I take issue with that comment. The aircraft was equipped with a GTN650. That's TSO'd to 146 and waaaaay above what you need for VFR flight. I have a KLN-90B in the RV-9A and am legally allowed to use that for enroute navigation with "positive fixes" pushed out from 30 minutes, to two hours but AIUI, a "positive fix" is considered to be when provided with a TSO'd GNSS anyway... With a C145/146 GNSS with FDE, that allows sole means navigation with nothing but that little black box telling you where you are & where you need to go.

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8 minutes ago, KRviator said:

I take issue with that comment. The aircraft was equipped with a GTN650. That's TSO'd to 146 and waaaaay above what you need for VFR flight. 

You may have missed this in the report

"The previous owner of the aircraft, a flying instructor, advised the ATSB that at the time of the pilot’s purchase of the aircraft, the pilot declined familiarisation training with the GTN650 unit as the Aera 500 would be used."

Also

"Two smartphones and a tablet computer were recovered from the wreckage. Neither smartphone contained an electronic flight bag or other aviation application. The tablet computer was found packed in an overnight bag indicating that it was not used during the flight. Date-expired air navigation charts for the area encompassing the flight were found stowed in a flight bag indicating that they were not being used at the time of the accident. No paper flight plan or other flight planning notes were located in the wreckage" 

See the trend.

 

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Yes he did a lot of things he shouldn't, fact remains if he was let through some quiet airspace at the higher level he would not have flown into the ground. The airspace around Coffs/Tamworth/Williamtown is very safe when you don't let people through, plan or no plan. 

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20 minutes ago, Student Pilot said:

Yes he did a lot of things he shouldn't, fact remains if he was let through some quiet airspace at the higher level he would not have flown into the ground. The airspace around Coffs/Tamworth/Williamtown is very safe when you don't let people through, plan or no plan. 

Fact remains he was denied clearance and didn't have the skills to navigate around it, maybe a BFR would have picked up that deficiency.

People criticise RAA pilots as dumbed down GA, insufficient training etc, yet we are required to navigate around CTA all the time, it's not hard if you plan for it.

Having to avoid CTA doesn't kill you, RAA pilots are living proof of it

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34 minutes ago, RossK said:

Fact remains he was denied clearance and didn't have the skills to navigate around it

He was denied a clearance, and turned right to avoid the CTA.

Then he received a clearance from the Class D controller with the instruction "not above 1000 feet" and turned back on track and descended. The only problem was the ground level on track was 3000 feet.

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Having to avoid CTA CAN kill you if you are forced over tiger country because they won't facilitate something less dangerous. This has been the eternal argument about having so much airspace tied up with RAAF and IFR ops..  IF we pushed for transit procedures and rights instead of CTA we'd probably have gotten somewhere by now. Dying is a high price for having broken some rules. If someone is in cloud and the controller(s) are aware of it I would think they are bound to be as helpful as  possible without compromising any one else's safety, as a normal course of action. Normally they DO provide good assistance. Nev

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4 hours ago, onetrack said:

If he'd carried out his proficiency review, an instructor might have really smartened up his flying and flight planning skills.

A BFR does not include any nav or flight planning or even weather reading. I really don't think a few circuits with an instructor would have changed the outcome in the slightest.

They where basically flying in their back yard not having a current set of maps or an efb is not that bad if you are flying around your local stomping ground. He did not break airspace and clearly knew where he was and what he wanted to do re-airspace. Having flown there quite a bit I don't understand why he did not use the coastal route once ATC denied his request. However it's not my local stomping ground.

It was a Swiss cheese crash 1-ATC, 2-stupid airspace restrictions and 3-complacent pilot. But with 1 and 2 failing, 3 was just waiting to happen.

With the amount of stupid over regulation I don't think any of us can say we are 100% sure we are flying legal.

 

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