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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 170579
Last updated: 5 December 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic DA42 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Diamond DA42 Twin Star
Owner/operator:Griffon Aviation School
Registration: 5B-CLI
MSN: 42.217
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:80 km SE of Larnaca -   Cyprus
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Paphos, Cyprus
Destination airport:Beirut, Lebanon
The Diamond DA42 plane, carrying out a training flight, crashed into the sea. There were two persons on board, a Lebanese pilot and a Cypriot national. They did not survive the crash. The bodies of both men were found at sea.

General conclusions of the investigation:
a. The flight took place at night and above the sea. Few minutes before the crash, the aircraft flight track changed repeatedly, without correlation with its original flight plan.
There is a high probability that the changes of track were the beginning of an escalating state of spatial disorientation of the pilot with the possibility that both pilots trying to establish the cause of the continuous changes of track which probably accounts for the pilots reporting the “small problem” they were encountering.
b. During these changes of flight track, after completing a ~30 seconds right turn from east to south and as a reasonable response to it, the ATC confirmed with the pilot that he was “orbiting”, The pilot answered that he “had a small problem and sorting it out now…” without specifying or calling emergency. The pilot answered to the ATC that “… we are setting now back to KUKLA…”.
The vague description of the pilot regarding a “small problem” was in high probability referring to the conflict regarding the aircraft attitude and spatial orientation. This is a known and familiar pilot response in spatial disorientation conflicts at it’s first stages, when the pilot tends to think that there are minor problems with the aircraft’s instruments.
c. After performing two 90 degrees changes of flight track, and as a result of the escalating loss of spatial orientation (and the conflicts involving in flying the aircraft in such situations), the pilot probably reacted to the conflict by flying the aircraft based on his incorrect spatial sensation to fix the aircraft’s attitude, rather than using the flying instruments (there is a probability of instruments failure, which could not conclusively be determined due to the limited data available).
d. The last right hand turn before the crash was in a steep bank (over 45 degrees). The pilot probably noticed a loss of altitude, and pulled back on the controls in an attempt to keep his altitude. While banking to the right and descending, this action tightened the turn into a spiral dive and increased the loss of altitude and airspeed of the aircraft.The pilot entered a state of “Graveyard spiral” mechanism in the accident. “Graveyard Spirals” are most common in night time or poor weather conditions where no horizon exists to provide visual correction for misleading inner- ear cues.
The “Graveyard spiral” is associated with a return to level flight following an intentional or unintentional prolonged bank turn (~20 seconds or more), without any external use.
e. Analysis of the audio recordings from the ATC prior to the crash, revealed loud ambient sound and human moaning from the pilot’s microphone.
The loud ambient sounds are the internal cabin noise caused by the rapid acceleration during the steep descent of the spiral dive. The human moaning sounds can be referred to pilot’s response to unfamiliar accelerations (G forces) during the tight spiral, and/or as a fear
f. Advanced physical and aerodynamic real-time simulation and flight path recreation of this scenario demonstrated a very high match between the resulted simulated geometry of the flight, and all the available data (RADAR flight path, ATC time-tables and audio recordings).


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

23-Oct-2014 06:25 gerard57 Added
23-Oct-2014 06:26 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Country, Source, Narrative]
23-Oct-2014 06:58 Anon. Updated [Registration, Operator]
23-Oct-2014 07:33 Anon. Updated [Registration, Narrative]
23-Oct-2014 10:55 gerard57 Updated [Departure airport, Source]
23-Oct-2014 11:14 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]
04-Nov-2014 05:56 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Source]
11-Feb-2016 17:59 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
11-Feb-2016 17:59 harro Updated [Registration, Cn, Source, Narrative]
15-Sep-2020 18:53 harro Updated [Time, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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