Aviation AO-2003-006

Convair 580, ZK-KFU, loss of control and in-flight break-up, Kapiti Coast, 3 October 2003
Status: Closed
Legacy Inquiry Number: 
Occurrence Date: 
3 October 2003
Report Publication Date: 
8 September 2004
Jurisdiction: 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.

Safety recommendations were made to the Director of Civil Aviation and the operator to address these issues.
Related Safety Recommendation(s):
Kapiti Coast (-40.8214,175.0199) [may be approximate]