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-   -   Airvan missing in Arnhem Land (https://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/347341-airvan-missing-arnhem-land.html)

Socket 16th Oct 2008 23:30

Airvan missing in Arnhem Land
Just saw this news item, hope the pilot is OK.

Search continues for missing plane in Arnhem Land - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

tinpis 17th Oct 2008 03:42

Debris found..

Debris found in search for missing plane | The Australian

206greaser 17th Oct 2008 04:24

Thoughts and prayers are going out for the pilot, his family, and the company.

Hopefully they'll find him sitting on a beach somewhere in the bay.

Hasselhof 17th Oct 2008 04:24

Doesn't look good. My thoughts and hopes go out to the pilots friends family and colleagues.

MACH082 17th Oct 2008 05:05


Seems to be a few scarecans lately getting bent, for such a docile Aeroplane it makes you wonder!

Not the place i want to be taking a paddle, although if your going to spear one in, a scarecan is the one you will most likely survive in!

AussieNick 17th Oct 2008 05:52

:sad: thoughts go out to his family. hopefully they find him, alive.

does seem that a few squarecans are getting bent as of late

SmoothCriminal 17th Oct 2008 06:21

There was a broadcast on Channel 16 (Marine) this afternoon with search area information and request for any vessel to report in sightings of debree

Water World is not too kind for people to be in it up this way :(

Guess the Dornier's are out combing the area ?! Could deploy two I suppose between Darwin one and Cairns one


alser 17th Oct 2008 07:10

I think there are 2 Ausar aircraft out, as well as 3 choppers. Stuff reported as found so far does not include broken bits of airframe, so there is hope!

206greaser 17th Oct 2008 07:25

I heard they have recovered jerry cans and a nose wheel washed up on the coast. Doesn't bode well :(

Very sad.

eternity 17th Oct 2008 12:12

Does anyone know about the weather that was around there at that time?

Any ideas whether it may be mechanical related, or did the poor fellow find himself in a thunderie.........

My thoughts go out to his family and workmates

alser 17th Oct 2008 12:26

Wx was apparently good there yesterday. It's a mystery!

FRQ Charlie Bravo 17th Oct 2008 12:47

For anyone in the know:

According to reports he/she was transporting petrol (maybe diesel out that way). I assume that MAF operates most flights as PVT, is this correct? If so how is DG handled? If not do they have a standard DG acceptance program? Is it common for MAF to do fuel deliveries?

I am not a journo (check my history of posts) so if you worry about what some in the press may say (not that the press should take much notice of that topic) please feel free to PM me.


flypy 17th Oct 2008 14:12

I know the pilot's sister, and I have a good mate working for MAF in Arnhem Land at the moment. Really bad news.

FRQ Charlie Bravo:

- MAF don't operate any flights as private, all pilots are CPL or ATPL and all operations whether it be Medivac, cargo transport, passenger flights are chartered and paid for, albeit on a not for profit basis. It's not some backyard operator.

- It's fairly common for MAF to do fuel deliveries, especially in Arnhem Land where the distances are wide and most roads are poor, turning to impassable in the wet season. Heavy falls have come early this year too. It could be diesel or AVGAS for one of MAF's outstations or for a settlement. It's a massive area they cover.

- All MAF pilots are DG compliant and MAF are authorised to carry DGs cargo.

PLovett 17th Oct 2008 21:55


My understanding, from a former MAF pilot, is that they carry only diesel and only in the cargo pods.

SOP is to overfly water at a height so as to be able to glide to the coast in the event of an engine failure and not to track over water until such a height has been attained.

He was at a loss to explain how, short of catastrophic failure, the crash could have happened.

Without wishing to put the mockers on the attempt to locate the pilot it would appear to be yet another sad day in aviation and my sympathies are with his colleagues and family.

alser 17th Oct 2008 23:47

With never going out of gliding range, it makes no sense that no mayday was heard....should have had time if he had got to 4500. Catastrophic failure sounds possible, but maybe there would be more airframe pieces to find then?

neville_nobody 18th Oct 2008 00:50

The options are endless really, explosion, structural failure, skylarking, suicide, severe bird strike or just being plain unlucky in some way or another.

I would suggest waiting another year until the ATSB sort it out before asking why.

DH 200' 18th Oct 2008 04:45

Looks like they've suspended the search.:(

Search suspended for missing pilot

The search for a 23-year-old pilot missing off the northern Australian coast since Thursday has been suspended.

Search coordinator Australian Maritime and Safety Authority has handed the case over to the Northern Territory police.

Search and rescue spokesman Mick Spinks told AAP that wreckage from the GA8 Airvan freight plane - a wheel, a seat cushion and jerry cans - were found in Buckingham Bay on the Arnhem Land coast on Friday.

The debris was found about 20km southeast of Elcho island, 540km east of Darwin.
"We searched the area again today but nothing further was found so we've suspended the search and handed over to the Northern Territory police," Mr Spinks said.

Hasselhof 19th Oct 2008 01:28

Looks like they've started again, but if he's been in the water this long then it really doesn't look good at all. Very sad piece of news.

From the ABC

Search still on for missing NT plane

A search will continue today for a pilot missing for three days off the Northern Territory coast.

Twenty-three-year-old Hadleigh Smith was last seen flying from Elcho Island in Arnhem Land on Thursday morning to deliver supplies to Aboriginal communities.

Debris belonging to the light plane was found 20 kilometres from the island on Friday and is being examined by investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Northern Territory police say helicopters and planes will keep searching for the pilot and the plane's fuselage today.

Ships and planes in the area are being asked to keep a lookout and police will follow up any information.

TwoTango 19th Oct 2008 09:02

The options are endless really, explosion, structural failure, skylarking, suicide, severe bird strike or just being plain unlucky in some way or another.

I would suggest waiting another year until the ATSB sort it out before asking why.
So why don't you do as you suggest and leave it be, instead of throwing out options three and four there. I was lucky enough to have met Hadleigh a number of times, and I am fairly familiar with his aviation and personal background. I would be extraordinarily surprised if either of those were an explanation, and I think to even suggest it without one ounce of evidence is grossly insulting. Honestly, how crass... :rolleyes:

Hadleigh, I hope to goodness that you are sitting on an island somewhere waiting to be rescued. Everyone down here does. God be with you mate.


Capt Wally 19th Oct 2008 09:34

It would be geat to have this guy show up, the cops are stepping up the search so it seems, fingers xrossed. On a side note I don't know about everybody else but i carry a personal EPIRB with me on every flight, have done so for years. Obviously if it was a structual failure a self activated EPIRB won't help but the more marbles I have in my marble bag the more I can afford to loose!:ok:


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