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Australian Transport Safety Bureau Reports on Mid-Air of Marchetti S-211s

Answers Incoming Surrounding Aerobatic Filmmaking Gone Wrong

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau released its preliminary report into an ongoing investigation of a mid-air collision involving two jet trainer aircraft over Port Phillip Bay, south of Melbourne.

The incident occurred on 19 November 2023, a pair of SIAI Marchetti S-211 aircraft were being used for an aerobatic formation filming flight when they struck one another, with one of the aircraft colliding with the water below. Both occupants of the aircraft were fatally injured. The report describes a series of maneuvers repeated for effect that ultimately culminated in a wing-clipping. The impact sent one aircraft on an inverted attitude that devolved into a "near vertical, nose-down flight path toward the water and commenced a slow right roll until impacting the water at high speed".

“Today’s preliminary report provides factual information from the early evidence gathering phase of our ‘no blame’ transport safety investigation,” said ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell. “It does not include any analysis or findings, which will be detailed in the final report we will release at the conclusion of the investigation.”

For a preliminary report, the piece is quite thorough, using recovered footage from the flights to recreate what went wrong throughout the process.

“As discussed in the pre-flight briefing, the pilots’ first planned maneuver involved Viper 1 flying inverted, straight and level, so Viper 2 could move alongside it, upright, to then maneuver as required to maintain separation and conduct filming,” Mitchell added.

“A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation, but if we identify a critical safety issue during the course of the investigation, we will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken.”



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