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CVLT, en-route, Kapiti Coast New Zealand, 2003

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Summary
On 3 October 2003, a Convair 580 on a scheduled night freight flight from Christchurch to Palmerston North, was observed on radar to enter a tightening left turn and disappear while descending through an area of severe icing. The aircraft impacted the sea vertically and at high speed.
Event Details
When October 2003
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Loss of Control, Weather
Day/Night Night
Flight Conditions IMC
Flight Details
Aircraft CONVAIR CV-580
Operator Air Freight NZ
Domicile New Zealand
Type of Flight Public Transport (Cargo)
Origin Christchurch
Intended Destination Palmerston North International
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Cruise
ENR
Location En-Route
Origin Christchurch
Destination Palmerston North International
Location
Approx. Kapiti Coast, 10 km north Paraparaumu Aerodrome


LOC
Tag(s) Airframe Structural Failure,
Environmental Factors,
Extreme Bank
WX
Tag(s) In Flight Airframe Icing
Outcome
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Fatalities Most or all occupants ()
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation,
Aircraft Airworthiness
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On 3 October 2003, a Convair 580 on a scheduled night freight flight from Christchurch to Palmerston North, was observed on radar to enter a tightening left turn and disappear while descending through an area of severe icing. The aircraft impacted the sea vertically and at high speed.

Abstract

The following is the abstract from the official Transport Accident Investigation Commission (NZ):

"On Friday 3 October 2003 at 2126, Convair 580 ZK-KFU was on a scheduled night freight flight from Christchurch to Palmerston North, when it was observed on radar to enter a tightening left turn and disappear. Attempts to contact the aircraft were unsuccessful and a search for the aircraft was started. The aircraft had impacted the sea about 10 km north of Paraparaumu about vertically and at high speed. The crew of 2 was killed on impact.

After crossing Cook Strait the aircraft probably became heavily iced up while descending through an area of severe icing, and stalled after flying level for a short time. The crew was unable to recover from the ensuing spiral dive and the aircraft broke up as it descended.

Safety issues identified included:

  • the need for all pilots and operators to have a better understanding of aircraft icing
  • the use of air reports to alert pilots to hazardous meteorological conditions
  • the adequacy of aircraft, operator and CAA documentation to assist pilots encountering adverse weather conditions, particularly for IFR and night freight operators in icing conditions
  • the adequacy of the installation, performance and capabilities of cockpit voice and flight data recorders
  • the requirement for a suitable tracking device to be readily available to find underwater location beacons.

Related Articles

Further Reading

  • The full TAIC Report No: 03-006: Convair 580, ZK-KFU, loss of control and in-flight break up, Kapiti Coast, 3 October 2003.