Air crash investigation hits wall

The wreckage of the Tiger Moth crash which was survived by Toowoomba pilots Warren Buckley and Ray Garner.
The wreckage of the Tiger Moth crash which was survived by Toowoomba pilots Warren Buckley and Ray Garner. Bev Lacey

AN air safety investigation has failed to pinpoint the reason a World War II Tiger Moth piloted by two Toowoomba men crashed into scrub near the bottom of the Toowoomba Range.

Warren Buckley and Ray Garner miraculously survived when the De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth they were flying crashed into thick bushland on Mt Davidson, near Table Top Bushland Reserve on January 24 this year.

Both men have declined to be interviewed about the incident. However, an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report has revealed what happened before the crash.

The report stated the handling pilot initiated a left turn to return to the airport about 15 minutes after taking off at 6pm.

"The pilot in command recalled that, during the turn, WHW (the plane) suddenly pitched down followed by a second, even more severe, pitch down motion," the report read.

Both men unsuccessfully attempted to raise the nose and the plane continued to pitch nose down until it became inverted.

"The aircraft was about 100 feet (30 metres) above the trees and inverted when it began to climb.

"Both pilots felt significant g-force followed by the collision with the trees.

Mr Buckley and Mr Garner sustained serious injuries.

The report noted the pilot in command had 50 hours flying experience in a Tiger Moth.

Despite having more than 6000 hours flying experience in other aircraft, it was the first time the handling pilot had flown a Tiger Moth.

Based on previous crashes of Tiger Moths, the report said the plane could have lost control for reasons including adhesive failure, inadvertent slat extension during aerobatics or loss of control due to stalling.

Topics:  tiger moth toowoomba world war ii

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