Investigation reveals cause of fatal plane crash
THE Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released its final report into a fatal Northern Rivers plane crash.
Pilot Doug Braund died after his Cessna 172 Skyhawk crashed in bushland at Brooklet on June 16, 2017.
The ATSB has since been investigating the incident and have now released their findings.
Mr Braund had been travelling from Southport on the northern Gold Coast to Ballina at the time of the incident.
His aircraft entered an area of poor visibility, including low cloud, fog and drizzle, before diverting off his initial track.
The Cessna was seen disappearing into cloud, heading inland, shortly before it collided with terrain, killing Mr Braund.
The ATSB has found the decision to depart on the flight "placed the pilot at risk of encountering conditions of reduced visibility".
The investigation found Mr Braund "likely became spatially disoriented, resulting in a loss of control and a collision with terrain".
It also found he was "likely under some degree of self-imposed pressure to continue with the flight, despite the inclement weather conditions".
ATSB executive director of transport safety, Nat Nagy said visual flight rules pilots - those operating without instruments that assist in adverse weather - should conduct thorough planning before their flights to avoid bad weather.
"They should also make alternate plans in case weather deteriorates, and make timely decisions about diverting or turning back," Mr Nagy said.
"If visual flight rules pilots do find themselves in deteriorating weather and become disoriented or lost, they should seek whatever help is available including contacting air traffic control.
"This simple action has averted potential disaster in many instances."
He said weather-related accidents were the most significant cause of fatalities in general aviation.