Tur­bu­lence, speed led plane to break up

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - LUCY HUGHES JONES

TUR­BU­LENCE and speed caused by a storm cell may have caused an “in­flight breakup” of a light plane that crashed in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, killing two young pi­lots.

Darcy McCarter, 23, and Daniel Bur­rill, 33, were repa­tri­at­ing an in­dige­nous man’s body from Dar­win to El­cho Is­land in Oc­to­ber when their Cessna 210 lost its wings, ripped through bush­land and crashed on a ru­ral road 30km from the air­port.

“Wit­nesses in the vicin­ity of Howard Springs saw the air­craft de­scend rapidly in a rel­a­tively flat at­ti­tude with a por­tion of each wing miss­ing,” a pre­lim­i­nary Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau re­port found.

Both pi­lots were se­cured in their seats prior to the air­craft hit­ting the ground af­ter a ver­ti­cal de­scent.

The char­ter plane ac­cel­er­ated to 150 knots in the fi­nal minute of the flight, above the ma­noeu­vring speed of 118 knots, and when this oc­curs tur­bu­lence can pro­duce dam­ag­ing wing load­ing.

“At air­speeds above about 145 knots, this load­ing can re­sult in fail­ure of the air­craft struc­ture,” the re­port noted.

Darcy McCarter.

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