FATALITY: An aerial photo of the scene of a light airplane crash at South Gundurimba, south of Lismore, where two people died.
FATALITY: An aerial photo of the scene of a light airplane crash at South Gundurimba, south of Lismore, where two people died. Doug Eaton

Plane stalled before fatal crash, investigation finds

AN AERODYNAMIC stall caused the fiery crash of a plane in which two men were killed at South Gundurimba in November 2012, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found.

Trainee pilot and owner of the Socata Trinidad four-seat plane, Christopher Bowles, 40, of Currumbin, and a 47-year-old Air Gold Coast instructor were killed when the plane crashed in a fireball in a paddock about 3km south of Lismore airport on November 9.

An aerodynamic stall occurs when the angle of a plane's wing becomes too steep and the wing stops producing lift.

After taking off from Gold Coast airport about 10.15am, Mr Bowles and his instructor were on their fifth circuit as part of training to permit the Gold Coast mechanic to fly his recently bought plane when the crash happened.

Following a 14-month investigation the ATSB yesterday released its findings.

"The ATSB found that while making a left turn in the circuit, an aerodynamic stall occurred, resulting in a significant left-wing low and nose-down attitude in close proximity to the terrain.

"The instructor was unable to prevent the stall from occurring due to either insufficient warning or available time to react.

"Although it appeared that a stall recovery was commenced, the aircraft stalled at an altitude from which they were unable to fully recover.

"Both occupants received fatal injuries and the aircraft was destroyed by the impact and an intense fuel-fed, post-impact fire."

The bureau also found that incorrect engine bolts could have contributed to the plane's engine being unreliable.



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