Date & Time: Dec 24, 1970 at 0744 LT
Type of aircraft:
Grumman G-44 Widgeon
Lake, Sea, Ocean, River
Mechanics Bay - Mechanics Bay
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Pilot Roger Poole was taking a TV news crew of three to film a burning 8.5m launch near Browns Island. After circling the launch and landing nearby, the floatplane took off and circled to the right at low level. It straighten out as if to return to base at Mechanics Bay, but then banked steeply to the right, the turn becoming near vertical. The nose dropped and it crashed into the sea, killing all four aboard.
The investigation found the float near the wingtip could obscure filming, but for a better camera angle the aircraft could be flown with the right rudder to skid around the nose, with opposite aileron to counteract any rolling effect. The pilots view to the right was obstructed by the camera operator, he was flying into the early morning sun, and the artificial horizon was switched off and locked, all of which prevented him realising the dangerous angle until too late.