This Day in History: 1972-01-25

Beechcraft V35A Bonanza VH-TYA operated by Rossair Pty Ltd crashed near Leigh Creek, South Australia on 25 January 1972. The landing strip at Compressor Station 13 on the natural gas pipeline between Moomba field and Adelaide is situated in flat treeless terrain and runs approximately north and south. Adjacent to the strip on the western side nine hundred feet from the northern end and 350 feet from the centre-line of the strip, stands a radio mast 300 feet high supported by an array of guy wires. The most easterly of the wires was anchored at a point 150 feet from the strip centreline and attached 25 feet below the top of the mast. The pilot had carried out a previous charter flight to the strip on 5 January 1972. Prior to that flight he had been briefed by the operator’s chief pilot and during the briefing it had been pointed out that caution was necessary when operating at this strip because of the proximity of the mast and its supporting guy wires. The outward flight from Adelaide, earlier in the day, was uneventful and the pilot rested for several hours before taking off on the return flight. The take-off was made to the south in clear, almost calm conditions. Alter take-off the pilot made a shallow turn to the left at approximately 200 feet above ground level. At this height the pilot completed a left-hand circuit of the strip then flew south tracking some 250 feet west of the strip centreline in a shallow dive. The aircraft passed low over the heads of three persons who had farewelled the passengers. Three hundred feet further on, and with no apparent deviation from its previous flight path, the aircraft struck the most easterly of the radio mast guy wires at a point 118 feet above ground level. The wire sheared off the outer 8 feet of the left wing leading edge and the aircraft immediately rolled to the left and pitched into a steep dive, striking the ground 400 feet beyond the point of impact with the wire. Sources: ATSB investigation report 197203843; website