Accident Cessna 172G Skyhawk ZK-COM,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 247412
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Date:Wednesday 3 February 2021
Time:c. 17:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 172G Skyhawk
Registration: ZK-COM
MSN: 172-54586
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Old Man Range, Otago -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Cromwell Racecourse Airport (NZCS)
Destination airport:Gore Airport (NZGC)
Investigating agency: CAA NZ
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On the day of the accident, the pilot departed Cromwell Racecourse Airport at 17:09 for a private flight to Gore Airport, which was a flight the pilot had done numerous times and on a regular basis.

The pilot initially flew in a southerly direction and climbed to 4900 feet above mean sea level (AMSL). After the aircraft
passed abeam Clyde it turned to the south-east briefly before turning back towards the south. It tracked towards a saddle between the Old Woman and Old Man Ranges, and after crossing the saddle at 5000 feet AMSL (about 200 feet above terrain) it entered the east branch of the upper Waikaia Valley.
Shortly after crossing the saddle the aircraft turned to the right, back towards the north and then continued turning in a series of right-hand orbits and descended to 4800 feet AMSL in a valley. After the second orbit and while on an easterly heading, the aircraft struck terrain at high speed in a steep right wing down angle of bank, at an elevation of 4790 feet on the eastern side of the valley

key findings:
Human factors
• It is likely that the pre-flight weather assessment carried out by the pilot did not include all of the forecast weather along the entire route
• the route flown and the decision to continue took the aircraft towards deteriorating weather and an area with limited options for the pilot to divert
• the aircraft configuration and airspeed were not suitable for conditions of reduced visibility
Environmental factors
• a moving frontal system meant the weather was likely suitable for flying at the destination but not along the route flown
• the local terrain and weather conditions likely led to orographic cloud formation at the location of the accident, which likely blocked the pilot’s only escape route
Mechanical factors
• no mechanical factors were identified

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA NZ
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 5 months
Download report: Final report

Sources: (photo)

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
18 May 1975 ZK-COM Rotorua Aero Club 0 Wellington Airport, Wellington 1 sub


Taieri 24October 2013

Revision history:

03-Feb-2021 09:38 gerard57 Added
03-Feb-2021 10:32 RobertMB Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Feb-2021 19:14 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Source, Damage, Narrative]
03-Feb-2021 19:15 gerard57 Updated [Narrative]
03-Feb-2021 19:38 RobertMB Updated [Date, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
04-Feb-2021 07:26 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source, Narrative]
04-Feb-2021 07:39 bushpilotnz Updated [Registration, Cn, Departure airport, Source]
04-Feb-2021 07:39 harro Updated [Aircraft type]
04-Feb-2021 07:59 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
04-Feb-2021 10:05 Wingnut Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Narrative]
04-Feb-2021 10:06 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Source, Narrative]
05-Feb-2021 17:28 Gazza Updated [Registration, Cn, Source]
05-Feb-2021 17:40 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Source, Narrative]
07-Feb-2021 09:35 flyernzl Updated [Photo]
03-Feb-2022 00:48 Ron Averes Updated [Location]
24-Jul-2023 09:09 harro Updated [[Location]]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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