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Cessna 'Down' near Sutton, N. of Canberra

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Cessna 'Down' near Sutton, N. of Canberra

Old 13th Apr 2021, 09:11
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Cessna 'Down' near Sutton, N. of Canberra

Report of a 'Cessna Aircraft' down near Sutton, N. of Canberra, at about 4.35PM EST this afternoon..
Aircraft has a logo suggesting that it may have been engaged in power line survey....

Two dead in light plane crash near Sutton, north of Canberra

That is all at this time.
Ex FSO GRIFFO is offline  
Old 13th Apr 2021, 11:38
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I lost a school mate back in a 1995 crash of a power line survey plane near Dunkeld, VIC
https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications...aair199503131/

It’s a dangerous business. I hope that some is working on doing this work with drones or another method.
My condolences to all those involved.
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Old 13th Apr 2021, 20:52
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Not good. One would think something with a bit more grunt than a C172 would be better/ safer for such a job.
Bring in the drone otherwise
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Old 13th Apr 2021, 21:23
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For years they used to use a JetRanger to inspect the gas line from Longford to Melbourne and they could hover or land wherever if needed. With inevitable cost cutting last time I saw they were back to using a 210.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 00:57
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
For years they used to use a JetRanger to inspect the gas line from Longford to Melbourne and they could hover or land wherever if needed. With inevitable cost cutting last time I saw they were back to using a 210.
I did the Longford to Melbourne pipe line inspection for 4 years in late 80ís to early 90ís in a C-182 . Pipeline easy to see as grass was different colour and markers where prominent. No need to get low . Just make sure no one digging it up or new fences erected . The 182 with a bit of flap was slow and powerful enough to get the job done safely in my opinion .
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 01:33
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Drones wouldn't have the range to do powerline inspections. You would spend more time finding the thing and changing the batteries in the middle of nowhere than actually doing the inspection itself.
As mentioned previously helicopters are the solution and arguably safer but noone wants to pay for it.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 02:23
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Usually rotary doing those jobs around our part of NSW
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 04:58
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Webtrack shows an hour or so of normal activity right up to the loss of signal. A few tighter turns a few minutes before the accident. Altitude was quite stable at 2163' if I remember, and the aircraft was tracking straight and level at the end. 172s are prone to stall during climbing turns however there was no indication the aircraft was changing altitude or course. Not that radar tracks are reliable in rural areas, but it's a mystery.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 05:40
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Not all drones are battery powered. I remember when visiting Jabiru at Bundy they were making a drone, sort of a Jab 120 lineage I guess, for some south african country.
I agree with another post, 182 with STOL kit may be a better choice for 2 POB.
Can someone tell me what are you looking for when flying over the lines?

Last edited by pistonpuffer; 14th Apr 2021 at 06:34.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 06:39
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Can someone tell me what are you looking for when flying over the lines?
The things we looked for were:
Broken insulators, frayed wires, broken wires, trees infringing the cleared area, pole caps missing, cross-arms rotting, tracking marks (electrical leakage) on cross-arms, missing coloured warning indicators of crossing lines ahead.

In a chopper, puttering along at 25-30 kt, easy to see any faults, easy to circle back and hover next to a fault, easy to scare the snot out of horses grazing under the lines, hard to fly steady when the line made a heading change and it was all cross-wind or even downwind - usually the inspections were in May-July, with the westerly winds roaring out of the Blew Mountains.

In the early 90s, Integral Energy put out a tender which required the helicopter providers to be Quality Assured. Nobody in Oz woz. We made the effort and started the process, masses of paperwork, submitting QA manuals for approval, getting knocked back, paying more money, re-writing, knockbacks, and finally getting approval after around 6 months. The tenders had closed well before that, but as we were the only company to even have started QA approval, we got the job, and spent 2 or 3 months inspecting the lines. One spot I saw was down near Lithgow, a lightning strike had splintered the pole and the wires fell to the ground, still live. A cow wandered over to look, trod on the wire and dropped to the ground. A fox came to chew on the cow, same fate. Even a crow which wanted a feast got blown to a pile of feathers. All reported.

Next year, same lines, I saw the same pole, but with wires put back onto it, skeletons of cow and fox and feathers still there. I asked the inspector why this and multiple other faults weren't fixed, he replied that during the year when the energy providers all amalgamated into one, there had been a maintenance team in each council area, but under one group, there was only one team retained. Too far to go to look at everything. The policy became "wait till it fails, too expensive to fix minor faults, let them become major faults."

Then the reason for inspections became simply to get insurance cover against dropped lines causing bushfires. They started using fixed wing (one of the inspectors owned a Cessna and had a private licence...) scooting along at 120kt , not seeing the minor faults, and then putting in the report "All good. Insurance cover please."

So much for Quality Assurance.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 10:03
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Originally Posted by Torukmacto View Post
I did the Longford to Melbourne pipe line inspection for 4 years in late 80ís to early 90ís in a C-182 . Pipeline easy to see as grass was different colour and markers where prominent. No need to get low . Just make sure no one digging it up or new fences erected . The 182 with a bit of flap was slow and powerful enough to get the job done safely in my opinion .
Ah thatís interesting. I moved next to the pipeline in 1990 and it was a Jetranger on a weekly basis. It was usually a Saturday morning as I wasnít home during the week. I guess their S-76ís were too costly for the exercise :-)

Was later replaced by either a 210 / RG so I guess it could have been a Cutlass as I didnít know the difference back then.

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Old 14th Apr 2021, 11:47
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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-...erra/100066868

Both deceased, reports of going into a spin by a local who witnessed it and the photos look pretty ugly. Stay safe out there everyone.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 12:25
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
Ah thatís interesting. I moved next to the pipeline in 1990 and it was a Jetranger on a weekly basis. It was usually a Saturday morning as I wasnít home during the week. I guess their S-76ís were too costly for the exercise :-)

Was later replaced by either a 210 / RG so I guess it could have been a Cutlass as I didnít know the difference back then.
Log books are being relocated after job loss so canít confirm exact year but defiantly from 1988 for a year or two . Working for a local airline based in Welshpool . Think we lost contract to a rotary wing operator . Reading the requirements for power lines it sounds like itís a job for a helicopter. A hot pipeline is not hard to follow especially in winter with livestock sleeping on the warm ground .
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 20:01
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Iím pretty sure most powerline inspections could be now done with small fixed wing drones such as a Wingtra operating under BVLOS conditions.
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Old 14th Apr 2021, 23:03
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Originally Posted by Torukmacto View Post
Log books are being relocated after job loss so canít confirm exact year but defiantly from 1988 for a year or two . Working for a local airline based in Welshpool . Think we lost contract to a rotary wing operator . Reading the requirements for power lines it sounds like itís a job for a helicopter. A hot pipeline is not hard to follow especially in winter with livestock sleeping on the warm ground .
Apologies if I made it sound like I was questioning your timeline. Mine may have been a little loose. PromAir, lots of stories from there Iíll bet.


Regarding drones, it feels like a $60k 172 would do the job in far less time in terms of purchase price, staff numbers and not require a ground based vehicle. Some of these drones are well in excess of $200k and require dual operators etc.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 01:43
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You been around awhile and know your local history , yes 6 years at promair . Yes , lots of stories which are filed as fiction when told in the cockpit these days .
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 01:58
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
Apologies if I made it sound like I was questioning your timeline. Mine may have been a little loose. PromAir, lots of stories from there Iíll bet.


Regarding drones, it feels like a $60k 172 would do the job in far less time in terms of purchase price, staff numbers and not require a ground based vehicle. Some of these drones are well in excess of $200k and require dual operators etc.
Yes our electricity supplier had a $500k drone shot down in rugged country, presumably by crop growers, could buy a lot of chopper time for that!
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 06:33
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On a helicopter powerline job in NZ years ago ...a controlled video camera looked ahead and then swung down ..all to get hi res coverage and a gps spot on passing over the pole or tower.
All this could be looked at back in the office and any defects , enlarged on the screen and noted.
And the fwd view gave the country surrounds for ease of access or difficulty.

But like any Low level op there are hazards. Fatalities occurred when following a small line the chopper hit wires from a higher over passing transmission line.

The really dangerous job to me is the insulator washing op. I like to watch that from solid ground. Scary !
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 12:20
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Accidents such as this only throws my fuel on the fire for drones, stop reminiscing!!!




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Old 15th Apr 2021, 12:23
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To all our aviation friends,
It is with heavy heart that we write this post following the passing of Tom and Hayden. They were both remarkable young blokes that were just following their dreams.
They lost their lives trying to keep us safe. The importance of what they were doing in power line survey cannot be underestimated as we have seen by the devastating bushfires that nearly wiped-out Tomís place only a year ago.
To us, they are heroes and always will be. We will miss them both dearly. Our love goes out to their family, friends and love ones.
Keep strong all and get around each other.
Ian, Rhena and the Expanse Team.
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