This Day in History: 1994-03-20

Cessna 152 VH-RNN crashed at Berowra, approximately 105 km south of Maitland, NSW on 20 March 1994. The pilot had been authorised to carry out a night-VFR flight in the Maitland training area on 19 March. That evening VH-RNN was observed to depart Maitland and later in the evening the pilot was seen in his car in the airport carpark. The following morning witnesses observed an unidentified aircraft flying in a northerly direction below low cloud on the eastern side of the F3 freeway, approximately 105 km south of Maitland. The aircraft was subsequently observed to bank steeply to the left and appeared to descend before disappearing from view. The wreckage of VH-RNN was subsequently found on 30 March, near the F3 freeway, about 800 m south of the earlier sighting of the unidentified aircraft. Toxicological analysis of the pilot revealed the presence of the drug Dextropropoxyphene at levels which may have caused him to experience sleepiness, hallucinations, delusions and confusion during the flight. The pilot’s ability to remain safely clear of terrain may have been adversely affected by the effects of the drug Dextropropoxyphene. Source: ATSB