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May 6, 2021

Peter Lynch’s plane suffered an ‘aerodynamic stall’: report

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Peter Lynch's plane crashes into the Swan River at Perth. (supplied)
Peter Lynch’s plane crashes into the Swan River at Perth. (supplied)

A preliminary investigation into the aeroplane crash that killed popular aviator Peter Lynch, 52, and his Indonesian-born partner Endah Cakrawati, 30, has found no ‘pre-existing aircraft defects’.

Mr Lynch was the man behind a multi-million redevelopment proposal for the Evans Head Airpark development, and was a well-known and regular visitor to Evans Head.

He and his partner died when the 70-year-old Grumman G-73 “Mallard” flying boat  broke up on impact after crashing into the Swan River on Australia Day in front of thousands of spectators.

Mr Lynch had owned the plane since 2011 and had spent more than 120 hours at the controls.

Pilot Peter Lynch. (supplied)
Pilot Peter Lynch. (supplied)

Although the full investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau is expected to take 12 months, the preliminary report has been released this week.

The report says the airplane suffered an ‘aerodynamic stall’ as the pilot attempted a third circuit of the Langley Park foreshore, where thousands had gathered to watch the airshow and a fireworks display.

An aerodynamic stall occurs when the airflow separates from the wing’s upper surface and becomes turbulent. A stall results in reduced lift.

‘As part of the third circuit, the pilot of CQA flew in an easterly direction, parallel with the South Perth foreshore, before commencing a left turn,’ the report says.

‘This would have facilitated a third pass in a westerly direction along the Langley Park foreshore. During the left turn, CQA rolled left and pitched nose down, consistent with an aerodynamic stall. The aircraft collided with the water and broke up. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured.’

Peter Lynch had a background as a coal mining engineer and was the sole Director of Evans Head Airpark Pty Ltd.

Mr Lynch’s Airpark company had an Option to Purchase  the whole of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome which was subject to successful approval of his development application for the airpark.

ATSB said the investigation into the crash would continue and would include:

  • examination of numerous witness reports and images and a significant quantity of video footage taken on the day by members of the public, media outlets and so on
  • review of the aircraft’s maintenance records, operational records for recent flights and pilot training records
  • review of the meteorological conditions at the time
  • an examination of aircraft performance and other operational factors
  • further examination of the recorded flight radar, radio and Global Positioning System data
  • review of the planning, approval and oversight of the air display, including a focus on safety and risk management practices.




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  1. Flying below 500 feet is illegal, unless taking off or landing.
    Pilots normally don’t get used to flying low, and if they do fly low, the ground appears to pass under much faster than when at higher altitude, at a given air speed.
    This is something pilots have to be critically aware of, as they can easily lower their air speed without realising it.
    The combination of low altitude, slow air speed and turning, is a recipe for a sudden stall, without any height to recover.


  2. The plane went into a turn and then it turned tighter. The plane at the apex of the turn stalled and it slid into the water.


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