Date & Time: Sep 2, 1974
Type of aircraft:
Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain
Anglo Normandy Airways
Whitianga - Auckland
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Shortly after takeoff from Whitianga Aerodrome, while in initial climb, the twin engine airplane went out of control, stalled and crashed near the Whitianga beach. The aircraft was destroyed and both occupants were killed. They were completing a delivery flight to Auckland when the accident occurred.
The pilot was unable to cope with an in-flight emergency initiated by a power plant malfunction and compounded by poor weather conditions, as a consequence of which the aircraft stalled and the pilot lost control at too low an altitude to effect recovery. Autopsy of the pilot revealed acute interstitial myocarditis conducive toward destruction of the cardiac muscle fibers. It is a silent disease prone to cause irregularities in cardiac rhythm, fainting, and occasionally sudden death. The possibility that the pilot had become physically incapacitated to some degree could not be entirely discounted.