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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 247771
Last updated: 26 November 2021
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Date:12-FEB-2021
Time:10:20 UTC
Type:Atlas Angel
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: ZS-WWO
MSN: 28
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 8
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:near Carletonville Airport (FACR), Gauteng -   South Africa
Phase: Take off
Nature:Parachuting
Departure airport:Carletonville Airport (FACR)
Destination airport:Carletonville Airport (FACR)
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Narrative:
On 12 February 2021, an Atlas Angel (a Walter turbine engine conversion of an Atlas AL-60C-M4 Kudu) with registration mark ZS-WWO took off from Carletonville Aerodrome (FACR) with the pilot-in-command (PIC) and the safety pilot, as well as six skydivers on-board. The intention of the flight was to drop off the six skydivers in the Carletonville area and return to FACR. The PIC stated that he uplifted 400 litres of Jet A-1 fuel prior to the flight, which is the maximum fuel capacity of this aircraft. The PIC further stated that immediately after take-off during the climb phase at approximately 250 feet (ft) above ground level (AGL), the aircraft lost thrust and could not climb any further. Thereafter, it started to sink. The safety pilot switched on the isolator (ISO) button to isolate the power lever “throttle” and pushed the fuel condition lever forward to try and feed fuel to the engine to restore power. During the process of restoring power, the aircraft lost height and it impacted the ground with its right-side main landing gear first, then the left-side main landing gear, followed by the left wing. The aircraft spun around clockwise and came to rest facing the direction of its approach. The aircraft sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence.
A witness who was a passenger on-board (one of the parachute jumpers) stated that the aircraft used about ¾ of the runway before rotation. He also stated that after take-off at approximately 250ft AGL, the engine was heard reducing to idle power. He stated that when he looked at the control panel between the two seats, he saw that the throttle lever was in idle position with no hand (of either pilot) on it. He then saw the safety pilot engage the isolator switch and, thereafter, he heard the engine spooling up from the input of the fuel condition lever.
At this point he (witness) realised that they were going to crash. The witness asked one of the skydivers to open the door. But before the door was opened, the aircraft crashed and knocked all skydivers unconscious. Post-accident, it was discovered that the safety pilot seat had also collapsed and was unconscious as well. The PIC and the safety pilot sustained minor injuries, while the skydivers sustained serious injuries. All occupants were taken to hospital in ambulances after first aid was administered to them.

Probable cause:
The PIC had, during the climb phase at about 250ft AGL, prematurely retracted the flaps and the aircraft entered a sink mode due to loss of lift. The safety pilot panicked and confused the sink mode (feeling) with the loss of thrust and, in response, pulled back the throttle lever, which exacerbated the situation. To recover the engine power, the safety pilot hastily opened the throttle, and this resulted in the compressor stalling the engine.

Sources:

ASA bulletin

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hetebrij/5156358294/ (photo)
https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2021-09-18-six-joburg-parachutists-survive-crash-after-pilot-error-dooms-ex-warplane/

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 7 months
Download report: Final report
Location


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
12-Feb-2021 20:11 paulm7010 Added
12-Feb-2021 20:15 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Narrative]
12-Feb-2021 20:18 harro Updated [Location, Departure airport, Narrative]
12-Feb-2021 22:20 RobertMB Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
08-Mar-2021 16:26 Anon. Updated [Total occupants]
17-Sep-2021 16:39 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
18-Sep-2021 08:51 gerard57 Updated [Source, Narrative]
18-Sep-2021 08:51 gerard57 Updated [Source, Narrative]
22-Sep-2021 07:49 harro Updated [Category]

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