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Par Avion BN-2 Accident South West Tasmania

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Reports filtered through yesterday 8th of December that a Par Avion Islander was missing in Tasmania’s South West National Park on it’s way to Melaleuca with only the pilot on board. 

During the day search aircraft failed to find the Islander due to poor weather in the area. 

The Westpac Rescue helicopter had  dropped 3 Police search crew & an Ambulance paramedic into the South West National Park area around 5.00pm.They have direction finding equipment to locate the beacon”.

Sadly an early morning report from ABC

 

WWW.ABC.NET.AU

Search and rescue police say the plane's sole occupant, the pilot, could not have survived the crash.

 

Thoughts are with the pilots family, friends, rescue personnel, Shannon & all at Par Avion 

RW

 

 

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 Weather in that area noted for rapid changes and spectacular rugged topography. It used to record annual rainfall in the region of 190 inches in the old measurement. Multiply by 25 to get MM's . Sad outcome . It's not your normal bit of countryside by any means, and an air service is the only way to get some places.  Nev

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Sh*t, I was camping with the family this weekend and didn't know about this.  

 

We were in Dover Saturday afternoon/night and I remember hearing a couple of choppers nearby, then today saw what I assume was Rotorlift's Bell 230 (sounded like a Huey) go over Franklin about 2pm.

 

The Par Avion Islanders usually go about 2 or 3 km north of our place on their track down to the south-west, almost a daily occurrence.  Sometimes I see two of them passing reasonably close together.

 

This is a tragedy for the pilot's family, I guess the only silver lining is that it wasn't a full flight.  

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I did an enjoyable day visit as a passenger with Par Avion down to Melaleuka a couple years ago, travelling on a fine day. As a frequent Tassie visitor, I know very well how the weather down that way can become suddenly challenging. 

 

Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the pilot - very sad.

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I look up every day when they track right over our place. Usually two runs a day. As you said, Marty, there is often a pair travelling within sight of each other (never too close though). I'd judge the cloud base by their height and visualise their view of the tiger country that they were traversing every day. Its rugged country. Although I've never met any of the pilots, it feels like I've lost a friend.

Sincerest condolences to all affected by this tragedy.

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It's not unheard of for pilots to admit to flying just a little closer to the limit when by themselves, and especially so if the flight is to pickup pax who are known to be waiting at a remote location. Publicly, we all deny any 'commercial pressure', but it's part of a charter pilots career.  Anyone who has flown charter in the tropic monsoon season, or in mountainous terrain, quickly learns when to turn back. Most of us rode our luck and made it home, but many of my peers didn't.  I feel for her family and friends. RIP

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This is a particularly sad event. But it must make the instructor who taught her, wonder what went wrong in his training of her, and whether he should have concentrated more on her weaknesses in navigation, or concentration, or general flying skills.

To run into cumulogranitus just 100M below the peak of the mountain range is the most basic and most unforgiveable flying error you can get.

I was under the impression that you are always taught to ensure that there's lots of air between you and the highest known points of terra firma along your route.

In every case I have read about, where a CFIT into high ground occurred, there were serious deficiencies in the PIC's navigation and flying skills that were never addressed - or their training was deficient.

I understand the flying conditions were more than likely pretty atrocious, and mountain rotor turbulence could have played a substantial part in the reason or reasons for this crash.

However, one would expect, it would have been hammered into her, to be particularly alert to the phenomenon - even more so, in the area she was flying into, which is well known for some of the worst types of these events.

The sobering part is, if she had had a full complement of pax, we could have been looking at possibly Australias worst air disaster since Lockhart River.

I trust the investigators find something of value in the wreckage, to determine the reasons behind this tragedy - but by the sound of it, they are going to be struggling to find any mechanical evidence of any value.

 

ATSB - Mountain Wave turbulence

Edited by onetrack
addendum..
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Excluding severe mountain wave factors, CFIT is a sad & puzzling outcome to me. These days, for the price of an iPad & EFB software, every aircraft & pilot in Australia has excellent terrain & weather awareness at their fingertips.  With this modern equipment, and competent planning & airmanship, CFIT in mountainous areas should be a thing of the past.  I can only imagine that other factors must be involved (eg. loss of engine thrust, or unseen airframe icing...).

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You could not rule it out unless all OAT's were above freezing where the plane was operating  at. Unlike Carb ice it is directly related to visible moisture and actual OAT (temperature)  for the types of planes we are referring to because they are not fast where some heating effect is present. Ice accumulation can be rapid and the only way to counteract it is to fly clear of cloud and descend where possible to a warmer level. The props ice up and vibrate making the instruments impossible to read and the airframe loses aerodynamic efficiency and your stall speed can become quite high due to the altered airfoil shape and  added weight. Supercooled rain drops can form ice very rapidly. Nev

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But CFIT can also happen in plain sight; as when attempting a 180 escape in a valley and misjudging the max rate turn.

 

https://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/raaf-remembers-worst-peacetime-crash/news-story/af10948a903da81c02f3dc23d381ae4a

 

And I think what Poteroo tells us (in Post #7 above) about the everyday realities of charter work in tough terrain also needs to be kept in mind.

 

This Aviation Safety Digest from 1971 holds many lessons along these lines - as relevant today as then:

 

https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5774770/asd_73_mar_71.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, human factors comes into play (remote stranded passengers), as does “airmanship” (perhaps an antiquated term these days) - but I’m an old guy with an appreciation of powerful modern tech + old lessons learned by other’s mistakes.

Garfly, your last ATSB 1971 link may well be closest to the mark on such airmanship:

 

“The probable cause of the accident was that the pilot persisted with such determination or confidence in his attempts to reach his destination in the face of deteriorating weather conditions, that he did not ensure he could safely discontinue the approach at any time and still maintain visual reference to the significant terrain.”

 

May we all heed the lessons of those who have challenged avoidable disasters and paid the ultimate price. 

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Today I had a chat to my Tassie friend who was driving in the nearby general area that fateful day. In his opinion, airframe icing that day was unlikely - cool but not freezing. No doubt, BoM records will be more definitive about conditions at 4500 ft and the authorities will certainly be checking the facts on this in their investigations. 

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On 12/12/2018 at 12:40 PM, onetrack said:

This is a particularly sad event. But it must make the instructor who taught her, wonder what went wrong in his training of her, and whether he should have concentrated more on her weaknesses in navigation, or concentration, or general flying skills.

To run into cumulogranitus just 100M below the peak of the mountain range is the most basic and most unforgiveable flying error you can get.

I was under the impression that you are always taught to ensure that there's lots of air between you and the highest known points of terra firma along your route.

In every case I have read about, where a CFIT into high ground occurred, there were serious deficiencies in the PIC's navigation and flying skills that were never addressed - or their training was deficient.

I understand the flying conditions were more than likely pretty atrocious, and mountain rotor turbulence could have played a substantial part in the reason or reasons for this crash.

However, one would expect, it would have been hammered into her, to be particularly alert to the phenomenon - even more so, in the area she was flying into, which is well known for some of the worst types of these events.

The sobering part is, if she had had a full complement of pax, we could have been looking at possibly Australias worst air disaster since Lockhart River.

I trust the investigators find something of value in the wreckage, to determine the reasons behind this tragedy - but by the sound of it, they are going to be struggling to find any mechanical evidence of any value.

 

ATSB - Mountain Wave turbulence

In the IFR flight planning the LSALT path is much wider, providing a greater safety margin for being blown off course, but there are quite a few historic cases where disasters have occurred after ad hoc mid-flight  changes have been made due to icing, weather etc. and it's exponentially harder to notice the odd peak sticking up above the others in a bouncing cockpit compared to sitting at a desk with a ruler and WAC Chart,, so even if that wasn't the cause, it's a worthwhile revision subject.

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 The IFR procedure is different really. There was practically NO IFR flying in PNG though I've had to resort to it a couple of times,  having to cross the Ranges later in the day when the clouds have built up. (as they do) Normally you rely on the VFR rules and stay with the ceiling and visibility restrictions and can fly between the peaks.. and all works out OK.  if you are careful and have some experience.  In mountainous areas becoming Non VMC has serious ramifications and often they are catastrophic for the people involved. It's not different to flying an IFR level complying with a stated and properly established  LSALT and having to divert or becoming  ICED up or losing an engine and not able to maintain  the level . Flying into a valley with a cloud overlay (Ceiling) is an area where you must leave an escape route. ie Be able to do a 180 without hitting the valley sides , stalling in the turn or entering the cloud.. This is part of that type of flying training which  is essential and encourages you to fly near one side of the valley to have the room to turn . etc  as an example or don't go there.  I've had friends who appeared to be very safe pilots, end up flying into cliffs in IMC when conditions deteriorated, often trying to climb up through the cloud and get on top.. Nev

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