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Mt. Hotham incidents

#casa avsafety is currently doing a round-robin of lectures to pilots and others who turn up around Australia. There was a recent one in Cairns. This in part used an accident at Mt. Hotham to demonstrate bad piloting.


There have been a series of incidents at Mt. Hotham over the past few years, inculding a current one with a couple of King Airs

Investigation AO-2015-108 – Near-collision and Operational Event involving Beech Aircraft Corp. B200.

One earlier involved a PA31 [Piper Navajo – July 8th 2005], where the pilot was castigated for following a road and making up his own approach.

The two parts of the #atsb report are below:



A careful read demonstrates that the #atsb does not explore a number of the likely contributory causes:

  • The reason for the aircraft being below MSA;
  • If the altimeter was being correctly read;
  • Was the Mode-C reporting correctly;
  • The effect of the daylight and at-time weather conditions

The accident occurred after  1727, with last light reported at 1735 and sunset at around 1715 for Benalla. The light conditions given the weather, would have been marginal in the area. However, #atsb goes to no discussion on the “last light” issue, only reporting the fact.

Further, there is no further discussion of the height issue as to why the aircraft was below MSA [Minimum Sector Altitude] or if there were reasons for all the incoming aircraft around the time of the accident, not meeting the correct intersects or being short of the required intersects.

That the Citation misses HOTEI, but “meets” HOTEA and the Dash-8, misses HOTEB on it’s second attempt. I also note that the Dash-8 “wandered about” in it’s track, but not criticised, unlike the PA31’s tracking.

Questions galore!!

My questions are:

  • Why was the Chieftain low?;
  • Were there any un-explained GPS issues, considering the paths of the other aircraft?;
  • Why was the “darkness” not considered?;
  • Why was there a preponderance of “bad stories” about the pilot??

In other words, was #atsb improperly influenced and why could that happen??

The page 27 of the report bears a view:


and the earlier approaches by the PA31:

Question is – was there an influence of a GPS fault??


The edge of the forest lines up with the inbound GNSS track and would be a beeter marker than the road, particularly if later in the day or indeterminate visibility


Hotham Band:

Has #casa influenced the #atsb in a similar fashion to #pelair??


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