This Day in History: 1975-03-22

Slingsby T61 VH-GZO operated by the Gliding Club of Victoria crashed on the southern side of Lake Mokoan, near Benalla, Victoria on 22 March 1975. The aircraft was a self-launching glider fitted with an engine used for take-off and initial climb and which was then normally closed down until further required. Shortly after the aircraft departed at around 1015 hours it was seen flying westward, near the southern side of Lake Mokoan, at a height of about 1,000 feet apparently with the engine operating. It then turned slightly to the left, entered a steep dive and pulled up into a loop. It completed three successive loops, losing height progressively, and at the completion of the third loop It was at a height of about 80 feet above the ground. It then climbed steeply again as if to carry out another loop and, as it climbed, its speed fell off rapidly. The nose then dropped, the aircraft entered a steep dive and it struck the ground in a near vertical nose down attitude.There were 2 fatalities and the aircraft was destroyed. The investigation determined that the cause of the accident was that an acrobatic manoeuvre was commenced at an unsafe height. Sourc: ATSB